Thanks to many Op­er­a­tion Christ­mas Child contributors

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

I am writ­ing to thank and cel­e­brate South­ern Mary­land res­i­dents for spread­ing joy to chil­dren around the world this Christ­mas sea­son. The gen­eros­ity of vol­un­teers, fam­i­lies and groups paved the way for us to meet our goal of col­lect­ing 18,768 shoe­box gifts for the Sa­mar­i­tan’s Purse project Op­er­a­tion Christ­mas Child — the world’s largest Christ­mas project of its kind.

Th­ese amaz­ing num­bers are a 9 per­cent in­crease over last year’s col­lec­tion to­tals. Since 2007, the South­ern Mary­land area has packed over 100,000 shoe­box gifts.

The gift-filled shoe­boxes are tan­gi­ble ex­pres­sions of God’s love for chil­dren around the world suf­fer­ing from poverty, nat­u­ral dis­as­ter, war, dis­ease and famine. Th­ese chil­dren, many of whom have never re­ceived a gift be­fore, learn they are loved and not for­got­ten. Since 1993, Op­er­a­tion Christ­mas Child has col­lected and de­liv­ered more than 135 mil­lion gift-filled shoe­boxes to chil­dren in more than 150 coun­tries and ter­ri­to­ries.

It’s not too late for peo­ple to make a dif­fer­ence. Though the South­ern Mary­land drop-off lo­ca­tions are closed un­til No­vem­ber 2017, filled shoe­boxes are col­lected year-round at the Sa­mar­i­tan’s Purse head­quar­ters in Boone, N.C. Ad­di­tion­ally, any­one can con­ve­niently pack a per­son­al­ized Op­er­a­tion Christ­mas Child shoe­box gift at samar­i­tanspurse.org/occ. In­for­ma­tion about year-round vol­un­teer op­por­tu­ni­ties can also be found on the web­site.

Thank you again to every­one who par­tic­i­pated in this project and for those who do so year af­ter year. Th­ese sim­ple gifts, packed with love, send a mes­sage of hope and con­tinue to trans­form the lives of chil­dren world­wide. Tamla Prid­gen, Leonard­town The writer is the me­dia re­la­tions co­or­di­na­tor for Op­er­a­tion Christ­mas Child — South­ern Mary­land Area Team.

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