BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WBOY) – Samaritan’s Purse “Operation Christmas Child” will be accepting its shoe box gift donations between November 14 and 21.

The Simpson Creek Baptist Church in Bridgeport serves as one of the many drop-off locations. As of Nov. 14, the church’s goal was to fill three semi-trailer trucks full of large carton boxes, which each hold between 15 and 16 shoeboxes, by the last day of collecting.

These boxes are being packed for boys and girls all around the world from between ages two and 14 years old. Gift ideas include:

  • “WOW” items – soccer ball with pump, dolls, stuffed animals, shoes
  • Toys – toy cars, jump ropes, yo-yos, toys that light up and make noises
  • Personal care items – toothbrush, washcloths, combs, hairbrushes
  • School supplies – pens, pencils, crayons, markers, notebooks, coloring books, solar calculators
  • Accessories – socks, sunglasses, jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries)

Things that will not be accepted in the shoe boxes are food, liquids and lotions, breakable or damaged items, and scary or war-related toys.

After boxes are filled, they go through a process. Each box will go to a processing center. The church’s three trucks worth of boxes will go to 10 different processing centers, where they will check boxes for items not allowed, and any money that’s been donated for shipping will be taken out. Boxes will then be officially sealed up and put into cartons and are shipped all over the world.

Many of the boxes will be delivered on or by Christmas. Boxes that will go to places like the Dominican Republic, Caribbean, and South America, will get them quicker. If they’re going to Africa or one of the 500 pacific islands that Samaritan’s Purse is trying to get them to this year, those take longer, so those children will have Christmas whatever day their boxes arrive.

President of Samaritan’s Purse, Franklin Graham, said “We’ve got a responsibility to take the message of the gospel to the ends of the earth. Every shoebox gift is delivered in Jesus’ name to give a child in need a glimpse of God’s love.”

There are a total of eight drop-off locations for the Clarksburg surrounding areas. The closest location to you can be found here, by typing in your zip code. Some include Bridgeport, Jane Lew, Weston, Salem, West Union, Glenville, Shinnston and Grafton.

As for Simpson Creek Baptist Church, Heritage Christian School showed up on Nov. 14 to help fill shoe boxes, and later that night, Boy Scouts Troop 40 helped pack in over 274 cartons into the first trailer, which almost completely filled it.

For that location, daily hours are:

  • Nov. 14 – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Nov. 15 – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Nov. 16 – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Nov. 17 – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Nov. 18 – 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Nov. 19 – 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Nov. 20 – 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Nov. 21 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

West Virginia’s central drop-off coordinator, Debbie Mount, said that these boxes are not meant to fill a child’s life with everything they need; they’re more so meant to show them a little fun, since most kids receiving them have never had toys. She added that they also do not have toothbrushes, pencils for school, and most things people in our country take for granted. Mount said, “it also gives them the Gospel and the good news of Jesus Christ.”

It is a very exciting process, and Mount wants to thank all the volunteers who donated their time to help bring this project together.