Donations for 'Operation Christmas Child' Now Being Accepted

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It may only be mid-November, but some people are getting into the holiday spirit a little early to help out some children in need with Operation Christmas Child.

Since getting its start back in 1993, more than 146 million shoe boxes have been filled with gifts for Operation Christmas Child.

“Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse," said Arthur Schalick, a volunteer area coordinator for the Southern New Jersey Area Team of Operation Christmas Child. "We ask people to pack gift-filled shoe boxes for underprivileged children overseas.”

Over the years, local churches have stepped up to the plate to make boxes and serve as drop-off locations for the global project.

“There’s nine drop-off locations in the southern New Jersey area — 500 in the mid-Atlantic region and almost 5000 nationwide,” said Schalick.

This week marks National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child.

Nearly 22,000 shoe boxes were collected  at the nine drop-off spots in South Jersey during the collection week in 2016, helping the global count rise above 11.5 million boxes.

As for this year, the local organizers are hoping to get 25,000 gift-filled boxes to help reach the 12 million shoe-box goal set by Operation Christmas Child.

“It’s just a passion," said Schalick. "It’s a way for me to serve as a missionary from here to overseas.”

Putting together a gift-filled shoebox is pretty simple.

Get an average-sized shoe box and fill it with toys, hygiene items, and school supplies for a girl or boy in any age range of your choosing. You can even include a special message with a photo of yourself to share with the child receiving your goodie-filled box. Liquids, food, and toothpaste are prohibited.

“It might be the only gift that they ever get, not only just Christmas, but in their whole lives," said Schalick. "So we want to give them the love and hope that we can share with them."

People can drop off Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes between now and November 20.

For a full list of locations and drop off hours visit

Read: How Early Is Too Early for Holiday Decorating?

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