their communities later in their life. "It demonstrates Godâ€™s love in a tangible way," she continued. "For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is their first gift ever received. I hear over and over again from the stories the children write that they become full of hope and are suddenly aware of God's love." Samaritan's Purse is aiming to reach 12 million children in 100 countries this year, with 17,000 boxes coming from the Mid-Texas region alone, Bailey said. Samaritan's Purse is the missionary organization that decides where the boxes will be sent, based on the input of local governments and missionaries.
HOW YOU CAN HELP To make a difference you don't have to attend a packing party or go pick up a box, pack it and bring it back to the church. Donations are accepted, allowing the organizations to fill the box for them. The organization also appreciates donations of $9 per box to
help cover shipping and other expenses, Bailey said. For those who enjoy packing their own boxes, a list of acceptable items is listed on the Operation Christmas Child-Samaritan's Purse website (https://www.samaritanspurse.org/ operation-christmas-child/), along with drop-off locations and suggestions for the various age groups from 2 to 14 years old. School supplies are a good idea because not having a pencil and paper can keep a child from going to school, affecting their entire future. Flipflops, clothes and toys are also popular choices. Bailey said tools are in demand: hammers, screwdrivers, flashlights, fishing and sewing kits can all help a child supplement their family's income. People can spend as much or as little to fill their boxes, but it averages around $20. "For the same cost of going out to lunch with friends you can change a child's life forever," Crowder said. TEXAPPEALMAG.COM