(ST. JOSEPH, Mo) Volunteers from the Journey Baptist Church packed boxes to send to children around the world.
Operation Christmas Child is an annual project bringing volunteers together at churches throughout the area to pack shoe-boxes full of donated items for children in need. If someone who packs a shoe-box wants to know where it's going, they donate $9 to Samaritan's Purse.
One 8th grade volunteer, Emma Raines, said she enjoys helping pack and donate the boxes for those less fortunate.
"I like giving back to other people," Raines said.
One of the group leaders, Jennifer Bedwell said in the last 25 years, Operation Christmas child has shipped boxes to 157 million children worldwide. The simple shoe-box sized gifts include school supplies, common hygiene items and gifts like toys, shoes and jackets.
"There’s a wow toy which would be either a stuffed animal or doll, or a truck, " Bedwell said.
The Operation Christmas Child program is part of Samaritan’s Purse project, a nondenominational Evangelical Christian organization, which partners with local churches across the globe to deliver these gifts to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine. Bedwell said the project also spreads the gospel of Jesus.
"The idea of these children receiving shoe box gifts, and learning more about Jesus, touches my heart." Bedwell said.
Community members can pack shoe-boxes and drop them off at a one of several churches in the area until Monday. Samaritan's Purse provides maps to drop off locations based on zip codes and cities.
Drop-off locations in St. Joseph are: Green Valley Baptist Church, Turning Point Church of the Nazarene and Journey Baptist Church.
People can also build a box online.