By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – A truck loaded with more than 6,300 shoe boxes is on its way from Shrewsbury to deliver Christmas gifts to children in over 130 countries, as part of the efforts of the international Christian relief group, Operation Christmas Child. The boxes, which are packed with toiletries, school supplies, toys and clothing, will be part of the shipment that will be delivered to 8.5 million children worldwide.
Operation Christmas Child is organized through Samaritan's Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization led by Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham. It is touted by the group as the “largest Christmas project of its kind,”
According to Rae Pileggi, coordinator of the Operation Christmas Child Shrewsbury drop-off site at Grace Fellowship Church, “This year's turn-out was a true display of the generosity and compassion of the residents of Shrewsbury.”
Pileggi recalled a woman who made collecting shoe box items a full-time hobby, donating more than 200 boxes to the organization herself. In addition, Pileggi shared the story of a Japanese woman who brought a group of students visiting the United States from Japan to the warehouse to help sort and organize boxes. She did so as a way to involve the students in American culture, Pileggi said.
It is not too late to be a part of this massive Good Samaritan effort. Donations can be made online via the program's “Build-a-Box.” Visit http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/ where you can customize a shoe box by selecting items from the list provided and then add a personal letter and photo. A minimum contribution of $35 is requested.
Build-a-Box donors will receive an update on where their box is sent. Donations may be made through Christmas Eve.