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Hundreds of locally led volunteer teams are scheduled to host more than 500 events across the nation during the second weekend in September for Operation Christmas Child, a global project of Samaritan’s Purse that shares the true meaning of Christmas with children in need around the world.

The closest event in this area is 9 – 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, at First Baptist Church, 807 E. 17th St., Mountain Grove.

Volunteers will gather during Project Leader Workshop Weekend to support and connect with those who are leading their families, community groups and churches to pack gift-filled shoebox gifts. Community efforts to pack shoeboxes with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys will contribute to the project’s global goal of reaching more than 11 million children.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, visit Participants can donate $10 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement. Boxes built online go to hard-to-reach countries.

Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, seeks to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 198 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 170 countries and territories. This year, Operation Christmas Child will collect its 200-millionth shoebox.

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