OCEANSIDE — Christmas is arriving early all over Oceanside, as local churches and homes prepare to serve as collection points for Operation Christmas Child. Soon, with the help of countywide volunteers, the sites will be brimming with festively wrapped shoeboxes full of gifts.
Through Operation Christmas Child, residents are packing shoebox gifts for children in more than 100 countries suffering from natural disaster, war, terrorism, disease, famine and poverty. From Oceanside, the shoe-box gifts will be sorted and sent using sea containers, trucks, trains, airplanes, boats, camels, and even dog sleds, to reach suffering children around the world.
“Through this project, anyone can be a part of giving love and hope in a shoe box,” said Kayla Riley, Operation Christmas Child drop-off coordinator. “Those who help at the Oceanside drop-off location find it fun to watch as filled shoe boxes stack up that have been donated by our generous community.”
Operation Christmas Child uses tracking technology that allows donors to “follow your box” to the destination country where it will be hand-delivered to a child in need. To register shoebox gifts and find out what country they are delivered to, use the EZ Give donation form found at www.samaritanspurse.org.
Local collection sites include Calvary Chapel Oceanside, 3715 Oceanic Way, Oceanside, and the White residence, 8049 Paseo Avellano, Carlsbad. For drop-off times, call (800) 383-8236.
In 2008, the Oceanside area contributed 10,402 boxes to the Operation Christmas Child effort. This year, organizers hope to collect 16,500 gift-filled shoeboxes from families, kids, churches, schools and civic organizations in the area.
Any person or organization that would like to be involved may fill shoeboxes with school supplies, toys, necessity items, hard candy and a letter of encouragement. Step-by-step shoebox packing instructions are available at www.samaritanspurse.org.
Sign up to join Operation Christmas Child volunteers at collection sites in Oceanside as part of the effort to prepare millions of shoebox gifts for delivery to underprivileged youngsters on six continents.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call (714) 432-7030 or visit www.samaritanspurse.org. National Collection Week is Nov. 16 through Nov. 23.