Area churches are working together to provide Christmas gifts for children outside of the U.S.

Operation Christmas Child is a program where local churches work to package Christmas gifts, personal hygiene items, and school supplies into shoe boxes that are shipped to children in third-world countries.

Organizer Mary Orr, said that the program creates the opportunity to gift items to children who may have never received a present before. She also said that they are sure to include school supplies so that the children are able to attend school.

“A lot of places won’t let kids go to school at all if they don’t have their own school supplies,” Ms. Orr said. “We want to make sure they can get an education.”

Ms. Orr’s job is to coordinate the program with all the participating churches in Benewah County. She said that the community can join in to help even if they are not associated with a church organization. All they need is one of each of the above mentioned items and a shoe box.

Volunteers can choose whether they will pack a box for a boy or girl and there are different age ranges the boxes can be packed for.

“There will be a national collection week in November where people will need to stop by the Assembly of God Church, which is the community drop point,” Ms. Orr said.

National collection week will be from November 16, to November 23.

The program is ran through a non-profit called Samaritan’s Purse, which is a nondenominational Christian organization that does charity work while also sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The non-profit has projected a goal of collecting more than 11 million shoe boxes in 2020. Last year the group collected more than 10.5 million shoe boxes of items for children.

Benewah County churches plan to participate including Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Assembly of God, Bible Church and Christian Life Fellowship in Plummer. The Worley Community Church and Harrison Baptist Church.

In St. Maries the Assembly of God, Church of the Nazarene, Community Presbyterian, Lighthouse Baptist, and First Baptist churches will all participate.

The Fernwood Bible Church also plans to help out packing boxes.

For more information on the program, reach out to Ms. Orr at 208-582-2085.

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