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Pack a shoebox, be someone’s Santa

For the past eighteen years, through Operation Christmas Child, Samaritan’s Purse has been taking empty, ordinary shoeboxes and transforming them into small miracles all around the globe. This year, Eastern University is participating in the program. Simply by donating a few small gifts, students can help bring Christmas cheer to children in other countries who are unable to celebrate on their own.

Operation Christmas Child has grown over the years to become the largest Christmas nonprofit organization, having sent 86 million boxes to over 130 countries. This year, the organization aims to ship out another 8 million boxes in time for the holiday.

Fran Decker, the chair of Operation Christmas Child at Eastern University, has been volunteering at the organization in Norristown for several years. Of Eastern’s past participation in the program, Decker reported that, out of the 100 boxes provided by Eastern, two-thirds have already been distributed.

“OCC has been touching the children of the world with the Gospel for almost 20 years,” Decker said.

“The simple concept of filling a shoebox with small items for a needy child overseas seems to resonate with people of all ages. It’s great fun to go shopping and imagine what would gladden their hearts and fill a need. There really is as much joy on the giving end as on the receiving.”

The process of participating in Operation Christmas Child is simple. First, be sure to visit the Warner Library as soon as possible. Just inside the main doors, there is a display of colorful boxes on the left next to the reference area. There, students can claim their own pre-wrapped boxes as well as the pamphlets that include the labels needed to start a box.

The most important label is a small slip of paper with check boxes for the age and gender of the child for whom the box is intended. One may even include handwritten notes and pictures.

The final steps are to include a seven dollar donation for the shipment of the package and then to affix the label to the shoebox’s lid. Completed shoeboxes can be dropped off in the library.

From there, it will be transported around the world to little boys and girls who are eager for the surprises waiting in the box.

A package’s location can be tracked at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.

All shoeboxes are due during National Collection Week, November 14 to 23. Further details regarding the process and what can and cannot be packed are described at the display in the library.

If you are interested in donating time or money, or if you would like more information, please contact Fran Decker by email at fran.decker@gmail.com.

Visit www.samaritanspurse.org for opportunities to become involved in the future. 

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