Local churches and people are preparing for Operation Christmas Child, hoping to collect a record-breaking 3,650 shoe boxes from Southwest Colorado for children in need around the world.
The operation is part of Franklin Grahams Samaritans Purse, which anticipates crossing the 100 million-shoe-box mark this year.
Anyone can participate in the project, which involves collecting toys, school supplies and hygiene items for needy children overseas. Everything must fit in a shoe box, and empty shoe boxes are available at the First United Methodist Church of Durango, 2917 Aspen Drive. The church is serving as the collection point again this year.
Then, using whatever means necessary trucks, trains, boats, bikes and even elephants and dog sleds, the organization said in a news release, the gifts will be hand-delivered to hurting children in 100 countries around the world.
Donors can track their shoe boxes to the destination country by using the Follow Your Box form found at www.samaritanspurse.org.
Through the power of a simple gift and the message of hope through Jesus Christ, the organization said, children learn they are loved and not forgotten. For many children, the shoe box gift will be the first gift they have ever received.