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Operation Christmas Child begins this week

Churches across the country are participating in collecting shoeboxes full of small gifts to send to needy children across the world

Posted: Nov. 12, 2018 8:12 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa - While the holidays can be a time of joy and cheer, they can also be a source of financial stress.

There are families across the world that can't afford gifts for their kids, but an annual effort is helping provide some presents for those in need.

Throughout this week until the 19th, many churches across the country are taking part in 'Operation Christmas Child', collecting shoeboxes full of small gifts, toys and school supplies to send to children in need. Volunteers at Mason City's First Covenant Church say it's something so simple, yet it brings so much joy.

Myrna Long is volunteering with the project, and recalls a recent experience with a child from Ethiopia that has a connection to the program.

"He had been adopted from Ethiopia, and was in Mason City at the time, and he came in with his mom, bringing in a shoebox, and that was really exciting because he had received a shoebox when he was in Ethiopia."

In the 10 years the project has been hosted in Mason City, Long says there has been great response from the community.

"It's been growing and grows every year...we have somebody coming in now and they're bringing 210 boxes from one church. So they may do this all year. It may be a production for them to do all year long."

First Covenant Church isn't the only church within the KIMT coverage area collecting shoeboxes: Pilot Knob Lutheran near Forest City, Calvary Evangelical Free Church in Rochester, Crane Community Chapel in Austin, First Baptist Church in Albert Lea, and Seventh Day Baptist Church in Dodge Center are also participating in this year's program.

For a list of what you can and can't pack in a shoebox, click here. There are 5,000 drop off locations that are participating in this year's project.

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