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Operation Christmas Child still accepting donations

PLATTSBURGH One organizations efforts to send gifts to children overseas are winding down, but theres still time to make a donation. The First Assembly of God church, located on Prospect Avenue, is collecting donations through this Monday, Nov. 24, in support of Operation Christmas Child. The project, which is overseen by Samaritans Purse, an international Christian relief organization, provides gifts to needy children across the world. Making a donation toward the project is simple, said Rita Alford, who serves as coordinator for the local collection center. Donors take an empty shoe box or small plastic container and fill it with gifts for a girl or boy child. The boxes will be organized by age category 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14 and by gender before being distributed. Its very easy to donate, said Alford. When you put together a box, you can wrap the top and bottom separately and fill the box with things like school supplies, small toys, toothbrushes, toothpaste ... the only other thing you need is $7 per box to cover the cost of shipping. Once the boxes are collected at centers like the one in Plattsburgh, theyre packed into cartons and transported to Samaritans Purse Headquarters in Boone, N.C. The boxes are then sent to destinations around the globe. This year, especially, there have been so many natural disasters and there are so many children in a war zone, said Alford. It has such an impact on them that someone from across the world would send them a gift. For many kids, this is the only gift they get, she added. Last year, more than 8 million shoe boxes were distributed, said Alford, with 4.6 million of those boxes coming from the United States alone. In the North Country, 3,824 shoe boxes were collected, which was comparable to the year before, she said. This year, were looking to collect a little more than 4,000 boxes, said Alford. Boxes may be dropped off at the First Assembly of God from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. this Saturday, 1-6 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday. The boxes be will shipped out from the collection center promptly Tuesday morning, said Alford, making it necessary all donations are turned in before then. Those interested in learning more about Operation Christmas Child or in making a donation, may contact Alford at 563-5799 or visit the projects Web site at www.samaritanspurse.org. Download a list of items that may be donated, including instructions on how to assemble a donation box, by visiting: www.samaritanspurse.org/pdf/PackABoxwithLabels.pdf

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