Starting Monday, Operation Christmas Child will be in full effect as several locations throughout Marshall will open to collect shoebox gifts for the annual Samaritan’s Purse project, which blesses children overseas.

“Marshall families, churches and groups are busy transforming empty shoeboxes into fun gifts filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items,” Jenny Jackson with Operation Christmas Child shared. “The Samaritan’s Purse project partners with local churches across the globe to deliver these tangible expressions of God’s love to children affected by war, disease, poverty and famine.

“During the project’s National Collection Week (Nov. 12-19), Marshall volunteers hope to collect more than 15,243 gifts to contribute to Operation Christmas Child’s 2018 goal of reaching 11 million children in need,” she said.

According to project coordinators, Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham.

“The mission of Operation Christmas Child is 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,” officials said. “Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 157 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.”

Donations include toys, school supplies, hygiene items and more. According to Jackson, the local sites will be among 5,000 locations throughout the nation that are opening to collect shoebox gifts. Project officials encourage the public to join in the effort as they strive to make a global impact.

“For many of these children, it will be the first gift they have ever received,” Jackson noted. “This year, Marshall-area residents hope to collect more than 15,243 gifts to contribute to the 2018 global goal of reaching 11 million children.”

Regional Director Matt McClelland thanked the community for their support.

“We are honored to be linking arms with our community to help children around the world experience the true meaning of Christmas,” he said. “These simple gifts show God’s love to children facing difficult circumstances.”

Local collection sites are:

  • Summit United Methodist Church, 1901 E. End Blvd. N., in Marshall –Nov. 12, 13, 16 and 19 from 10 a.m. to noon; Nov. 14 and 15 from noon to 2 p.m.; Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Nov. 18 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • New Hebron Baptist Church, 4353 Farm-to-Market Road 451, in Waskom – Nov. 12,13, and 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Nov. 16 and 17 from 10 a.m. to noon; Nov. 18 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; and Nov. 19 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
  • First Baptist Church, 523 N. Polk St., in Jefferson – Nov. 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Nov. 17 from noon to 4 p.m.; Nov. 18 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and Nov. 19 from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Northside Christian Center, 108 E. Ash St., in Carthage – Nov. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 from 10 a.m. to noon; Nov. 18 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Calvary Baptist Church, 4715 Tenneryville Road in Longview – Nov. 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.; and Nov. 17 from 9 a.m. to noon; and Nov. 18 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • First Christian Church, 720 N. 6th St., in Longview- Nov. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Nov. 18 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Nov. 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • New Hope Baptist Church, 12496 Shamrock Road, Diana – Nov. 12, 15, and Nov. 19 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.; Nov. 13, Nov. 16 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Nov. 14 and Nov. 17 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; and Nov. 18 from noon to 2 p.m.
  • Forest Home Baptist Church, 15746 County Road 173 N., Kilgore- Nov. 12 from 2 to 6 p.m.; Nov. 13, 14, 15 and 16 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Nov. 17 and 18 from noon to 3 p.m.; and Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to noon.
  • Grace Baptist Church, 101 Crawford St., in Gilmer – Nov. 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Nov. 17 and 19 from 10 a.m. to noon; and Nov. 18 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 817-595-2230, or visit the website, samaritanspurse.org/occ. Project coordinators said participants may also donate $9 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 samaritanspurse.org/buildonline 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,” officials advised.