Operation Christmas Child

By Megan Trent

Operation Christmas Child

September 19, 2010 Updated Sep 19, 2010 at 7:14 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - It may be a little early to talk about Christmas, but for eight million children around the world Christmas can't come soon enough.

That's how many children "Operation Christmas Child" provides a shoe box full of Christmas gifts to each and every year. Volunteers with Operation Christmas Child are already working hard to make sure those children in need have something to open this Christmas, and in the process they're spreading the Christian message.

Representatives from OCC and several local churches gathered at Sonrise Church in Fort Wayne Sunday afternoon. That's because volunteers are gearing up for their "Countdown to Collection Week." That's not until November 15th through 22nd, but you can start helping now.

Just fill a shoe box with toys, school supplies, or hygiene items. Then drop it off at Sonrise Church and this Christmas it will be sent to a needy child somewhere across the globe. Each box will also contain booklets aimed at spreading the Christian faith.

"This is a chance for you to give the gospel and give happiness and joy to these kids across the world that you'll never meet, but you know that you've just made their lifetime," says OCC volunteer and IPFW student Melanie Lubs.

"The children who receive the shoe boxes, they receive it by the grace of God," says Reverend Justin Byakweli. "They will feel that the way that Jesus came to save us, that's how they receive the shoe boxes - by the grace of God."

Operation Christmas Child is the world's largest Christmas project. Volunteers have hand delivered more than 77 million shoe box gifts to needy children in more than 130 countries since the group first began in 1993.

To find out more about how to donate or the OCC program, visit www.samaritanspurse.org or click on "Operation Christmas Child" under the Newslinks tab.

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