Donations from area communities during Operation Christmas Child’s recent National Collection week will provide more than 5,000 shoe boxes full of gifts for needy children around the world this year.
Grace Community Church accepted donations during the week of Nov. 12 to 19. At the end of the collection period Monday, the effort had collected 5,003 shoe boxes, exceeding its goal of 4,600, said Teresa McKee, collection center coordinator.
That number is up 554 from 4,449 boxes collected in 2011.
Donations came not only from Roswell, but also from communities and churches in areas such as Artesia, Carlsbad, Lovington and Ruidoso.
“Each year, it has just been amazing watching it grow,” she said. “Our churches were just so giving and it’s a great example of the Christian community working together to provide for people in need.”
A truck packed with the items left early Tuesday morning for one of the organization’s distribution centers in Denver, where gifts will be prepared for final shipment.
Operation Christmas Child, a project of Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse, assembles shoe boxes full of items, such as toys, clothing, school supplies and hygiene products, and delivers them to children in more than 130 countries in an effort to demonstrate God’s love.
Since its inception nearly 20 years ago, the effort has sent 100 million boxes to children across the globe.
For more information about Samaritan’s Purse or Operation Christmas Child, visit samaritanspurse.org.