Shoe boxes can help a child in another part of the world have a happier holiday season.
Volunteers are working to collect shoe boxes filled with goodies for Operation Christmas Child. Dawn Wilson, one of these volunteers, said last year more than 3,400 boxes were collected from Faulkner County and surrounding communities.
“This year we want to get as close as we can to 4,000,” Wilson said, noting that this year marks Conway’s 10th year as the relay collection site for Operation Christmas Child.
During Conway’s history as the relay center, more than 28,000 boxes have been collected.
The collection will be Nov. 16-22 at Fellowship Bible Church, 1051 Hogan Lane (next to Plant Outlet). Drop off hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Wilson said although the drop-off location is at the Fellowship Bible Church, the collection is a communitywide event rather than the work of that specific church.
Operation Christmas Child is an annual project of Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief and evangelism organization led by Franklin Graham.
Wilson said the boxes go to more than 100 countries around the world.
Wilson’s involvement in the program began when she packed a couple of boxes.
“Then I caught on to the vision,” she said. She then became a volunteer. Her involvement has continued to grow as she is now is the local coordinator.
The boxes go to areas of the world that have experienced war, poverty, famine or natural disasters.
Volunteers are encouraged to pack regular sized shoe boxes with items such as toys, school supplies, hygiene items and personal notes.
It is a great project for individuals, families, churches, organizations, groups and businesses, Wilson said.
She said the boxes may be taken by camel or snowmobile to the children who will receive them.
The boxes also go into areas where a local contact has been established.
“The local contact in the community will distribute the shoe boxes to those who need them the most,” Wilson said.
Although not all boxes make it to their destination by Christmas, Wilson said they arrive “as close to Christmas as possible.”
For more information about this project or to find out how you can pack a box, visit the Samaritan’s Purse Web site, www.samaritanspurse.org/occ, or contact Wilson at 269-0434.