GRANTSVILLE, WV - Over 25 colorful shoe boxes filled with toys, school supplies, and other items were dropped off at churches and other facilities around Grantsville last week. It was National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child, and the gift-filled shoe boxes are now in the process of being shipped to needy children around the world.

Even though National Collection Week is over, it's not too late to pack a shoe box. Operation Christmas Child has launched "Build A Box," an online tool offering a personalized and convenient way to send Christmas gifts to even more children.

"One more shoe box means one more child - one more life that can have hope and joy this Christmas," says Great Lakes Regional Manager Todd Edwards, who has personally helped hand out shoe box gifts with Operation Christmas Child. "The power of a simple shoe box gift is incredible," Edwards said.

The "Build A Box" process is simple: At samaritanspurse.org donors select a child's age and gender; shop through an online selection of toys, necessity items, and school supplies; and finish it off with a personalized note of encouragement. The gift boxes will be assembled by volunteers at Operation Christmas Child's processing center in Charlotte, NC. Through tracking technology, donors can "follow the box" to find out where it will be delivered.

"In just minutes, you can highly customize your gifts to bring hope to a child in a desperate situation," said Jim Harrelson, vice president of Operation Christmas Child. "This process is unlike anything we've ever done, and it will allow even more children to receive gift-filled shoe boxes. We want each of these children to know the true meaning of Christmas."

Operation Christmas Child - the world's largest Christmas project - is part of the international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan's Purse. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered more than 77 million gift-filled shoe boxes to needy children in more than 130 countries.

For information on Operation Christmas Child, call (937)374-0761 or visit   samaritanspurse.org

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