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Church works to provide presents worldwide

Ellecia Schaefer and Jeanie Graver present 141 boxes ready to be shipped to children worldwide through Operation Christmas Child at the Westport Bible Church.

Ellecia Schaefer and Jeanie Graver present 141 boxes ready to be shipped to children worldwide through Operation Christmas Child at the Westport Bible Church. Photo by Katherine Clark.

— Members of the Westport Bible Church are collecting items and donations to supply children around the world with Christmas presents.

Operation Christmas Child is a worldwide children's project of Samaritan's Purse that uses simple gift-filled shoeboxes containing school supplies, toys, necessity items and notes of encouragement to let hurting children know God loves them and they are not forgotten.

“It’s not just about the stuff in the box, it’s about giving a gospel opportunity for the children around the world,” Church coordinator Ellecia Schaefer said.

The members of the church started collecting donations earlier in the month and on Nov. 11, 70 children from the church’s Olympians Club packed 141 boxes.

In 2012, Operation Christmas Child expects to reach a milestone — delivering shoe boxes to more than 100 million children since the project began in 1993. To achieve this, volunteers are leading a nationwide drive enlisting people to help give joy to needy children this Christmas through this simple project.

Right now, kids, families, churches, scout troops, schools, civic clubs and businesses are filling their shoeboxes. Samaritan’s Purse will be collecting gift-filled shoeboxes at more than 3,500 drop-off sites in all 50 states and Puerto Rico during National Collection Week, Nov. 12 through the 19.

The church will be holding collection Sunday on Nov. 18, at 24 Youngs Road. For more information or to find out how to make a donation call the church at 962-8697.

To find the nearest drop-off location, call (800) 353-5949 or www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.

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