Operation Christmas Child
COLUMBIA - The Operation Christmas Child project held a gift-packing event on Friday at The Crossing Church to give impoverished children overseas a brighter Christmas.
Columbia volunteers packed empty shoeboxes with more than just with toys. The gifts included hygiene products and school supplies in order to give the recipients everyday essentials.
“They come from very little so they've never had a maybe toothbrush all of their own or that they've had to have a washcloth that they've shared with their entire family," said organizer Renee Munns.
Leigh Rocca said she and other volunteers each bring one larger item to "wow" the child. She said she came to the event with friends who each made a bracelet for their shoebox, and then made an identical one for themselves. Munns came up with the idea.
Rocca said, "Whenever we look at ours, we'll think of them."
Munns said it is hard to raise funds and find time to buy all of the gifts for the shoeboxes, so she budgeted her own money for most of the gifts at the event.
"This is basically just my donation to the cause," she said.
Nov. 13 is the start of national collection week for Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan's Purse. The Crossing Church is a main collection location.
People donating gifts to the shoeboxes can track where their donation goes by clicking “Follow Your Box” on the group's website.
Munns said her volunteers had 256 shoeboxes last year, and hopes to meet their goal of 300 by Friday.