I would like to thank the hundreds of area residents who contributed to the Operation Christmas Child shoe box collection last November.
Through the efforts of our neighbors in Randolph, Barbour, Upshur, Tucker, Webster and Pocahontas counties, our Elkins area team was able to collect 13,920 shoe boxes which were sent overseas to needy children throughout the world. In fact, more than 99,800 boxes were collected in West Virginia in 2010.
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, headed by Franklin Graham. Samaritan's Purse is an international relief organization that collects gift-filled shoe boxes and delivers them in the name of Jesus Christ to children who desperately need a helping hand. They are given the shoe boxes out of love and this simple gift lets a child know he is loved and is not forgotten.
This endeavor could not be possible without the support of our area residents. Many of the children who receive the shoe boxes suffer from war, poverty, disease and natural disasters. Operation Christmas Child makes it possible for millions of these children to experience God's love through shoe boxes filled with gifts. These small boxes open doors for presenting the "good news" of Jesus Christ by working in and through local churches where possible, offering children's literature and through culturally appropriate evangelistic and follow-up programs.
OCC strongly encourages these children to help other children, and this program offers a simple way for children and teenagers to join adults in sharing the joy of giving to children throughout the world at Christmas.
Now through Christmas, children and their families, Scout troops, schools, civic groups, churches and businesses will be filling their shoe boxes.
These boxes can be dropped off locally at various sites come mid-November during National Collection Week, Nov. 14-21.
I want to encourage all area residents to start their shoe boxes now. You may not think a small gift can make a difference, but once that gift is in the hands of a child it lights up his world. The child is shown first hand that God loves them and that people throughout the world do care.
Again, I thank all of the residents who gave so generously to Operation Christmas Child.