As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause fear and uncertainty, Samaritan’s Purse is calling on churches and families in the Smith Mountain lake area to pack more shoebox gifts than ever before for Operation Christmas Child — making sure millions of children experience the “good news and great joy of the holiday.”

Samaritan’s Purse stated that it is committed to its mission of reaching millions of children across the globe with hope.

“Much of the world has been gripped with fear, and this is especially hard for children,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “Now more than ever, these boys and girls need to know God loves them. Operation Christmas Child delivers the hope found only in Jesus Christ.”

The Samaritan’s Purse project has been collecting and delivering shoebox gifts — filled with school supplies, hygiene items and toys — to children worldwide for more than two decades. This is a mission project that everyone can still be a part of, even with COVID-19 restrictions. Donors can pack shoeboxes with school supplies, hygiene items and toys, then bring them to one of more than 4,000 drop-off locations during National Collection Week Nov. 16-23. Drop-off locations will be listed starting in early November at samaritanspurse.org and can be searched by city or ZIP code.

Even if churches and groups are not yet meeting, families are encouraged to pack shoebox gifts at home.

“Through Operation Christmas Child’s network of thousands of churches around the world, God uses these simple gifts to make an eternal impact,” Samaritan’s Purse stated.

The organization also offers an option to virtually pack a shoebox gift. Through this online tool, churches and groups also can set up a goal page to rally together to reach a larger goal.

“It’s easy—simply set a goal, invite your friends, and start packing!” Samaritan’s Purse stated.

Whether your goal is 50 shoeboxes or 5,000, anyone can create a Goal Page and work together with church members, friends and family to share the hope of the Gospel with children around the world.

Those interested in more information on Operation Christmas Child COVID-19 protocols may visit https://occpr.samaritanspurse.org for the latest information and answers to frequently asked questions.

Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, seeks to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 178 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

Read more in the next week's issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle newspaper. Pick up a copy or subscribe at www.smithmountaineagle.com/subscriber_services to view articles in the print and/or e-edition version.

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