BRIDGEPORT, W.Va .- Community members gathered at Simpson Creek Baptist Church in Bridgeport to put together shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. This marks the start of national collection week for the program.
“The three surrounding counties are bringing in all their shoeboxes and at the end of the week, we’re going to ship them off to processing centers across the country,” said director Frank Jarman.
People from all parts of the country pack shoeboxes filled with gifts and personal care items for children all around the world who would not otherwise receive them. Each box is designed for a child of a specific sex and age group. This year volunteers are placing special emphasis on school supplies that can cost parents one year’s salary in some countries, but would cost a volunteer only ten dollars.
“That ten bucks of material is going to help that child get an education, it’s going to make them feel like somebody cares about them and they have encouragement from around the planet,” said Jarman.
Project leaders said coming together each year to build gift boxes not only helps others, but brings local groups closer together.
“People will come here from all over the tri-county area and interact with these nice people that are opening this center today, but what it does is builds community for this community,” said Jarman.
All boxes will be mailed to 150 countries worldwide on November 25.