Local families join global effort to help 8 million suffering children


CHRISTMAS SPIRIT—A child in Mexico receives a Christmas shoebox gift from Operation Christmas Child. Photo courtesy of OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD

A local church church is the drop off point for a world wide children’s program. Crossroads Church, 8331 Meyers Lake Road, Rockford is part of Operation Christmas Child.

U.S. kids have no time to waste helping bring joy to millions of needy boys and girls this holiday season. Sending hope to hurting children worldwide is a full-time, year-round effort that requires the contagious compassion of West Michigan families, right now!

Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest Christmas project, is calling on local kids, families, churches, businesses, schools and community groups to fill shoeboxes full of gifts for children overseas who are suffering from disease, famine, war, terrorism and natural disaster.

“My shoebox gift might be the only gift a child has ever received,” said Jennie Nichols, who has been happily packing shoebox gifts for the past seven years. “A shoebox can make a difference. It lets children know that someone really does care about them.”

Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, has collected and hand-delivered more than 68 million shoebox gifts to hurting kids in some 130 countries since 1993.

“It’s amazing how much simple gifts like small toys, pencils, toothbrushes and a handwritten note mean to children who may have nothing to call their own,” said Lori Hoyt, who volunteers and packs shoebox gifts.

Here’s how you can help:

• PREPARE—Enlist families, churches, community groups, and businesses to take part in making shoebox gifts for needy children.

• PACK—Fill shoe boxes with toys, necessity items, school supplies, candy and a letter of encouragement.

• PROCESS—Sign up to join thousands of Operation Christmas Child volunteers this fall, at one of hundreds of collection sites across Michigan, to collect and prepare millions of shoebox gifts for delivery to underprivileged children on six continents.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, visit www.samaritanspurse.org.

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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.