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Operation Christmas Child kicks off Monday
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Forsyth County News

FORSYTH COUNTY — Who knew that filling up a shoebox could help someone have a merry Christmas.

Operation Christmas Child is setting up locations around Forsyth County to take in Christmas gifts for underprivileged kids. Donors are asked to fill shoeboxes with items and take them to local drop-off points.

“For a lot of these kids, it’s the first sort of present that they have received in their entire life,” said Jenn Twitchell, a spokeswoman for the effort. “So for them it’s a very special experience, where they just get to see that someone packed them a lot of … different presents and goodies and hygiene items and just things that they’ve never had before.”

The group’s National Collection Week starts on Monday. In the last 21 years the organization has delivered gifts to 113 million kids, and aims to send 10 million more boxes this year.

“If people want to find which drop off is closest to them they can go to our website at Samaritans purse and there’s actually a zip code locater,” she said.

The gifts collected will be processed by the organization, then shipped across the world to children in areas dealing with hardships such as conflict or natural disasters. Typical donations include toys and clothing.

“A lot of people put toothbrushes and different types of hygiene items in there, sometimes people have put gloves in there,” Twitchell said.

There are a few items, including breakables or things that expire, that can’t be accepted.

“War-related items are not good,” Twitchell said. “Anything that is really sharp or might hurt a child, those things aren’t OK. Liquids, just because they might break open in the box.”

In addition to gifts, Twitchell said some donors also put notes in the boxes. Others have even started pen pal relationships with the kids.