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Operation Christmas Child to start collections next week

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Collection sites

World Christian Outreach Ministries, 503 W. Georgia Ave., Connellsville

Operating hours: Nov. 18-22, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.; Nov. 23, 10 a.m.-noon; Nov. 24, 1-4 p.m.; Nov. 25, 9-10 a.m.

Clinton Church of God, 405 Buchanan Road, Normalville

Operating hours: Nov. 18-22: 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m.; Nov. 23, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; Nov. 24, 1-4 p.m.; Nov. 25, 8-9 a.m.

By Nancy Henry
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 12:26 a.m.

Connellsville area individuals, families, churches and groups are working to make Christmas a reality for needy kids around the world by filling shoe boxes with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, hard candy and notes of encouragement. Operation Christmas Child is the world's largest Christmas project of its kind.

Volunteers will be ready at local collection sites, including in Connellsville and Normalville, beginning Monday.

Officials said volunteers will collect an anticipated 1,700 gift-filled shoe boxes next week, which is National Collection Week.

Locally, collections will be held at the World Christian Outreach Ministries in Connellsville and Clinton Church of God in Normalville. Anyone can drop off a gift-filled shoe box to send to a child overseas at these collection locations.

The boxes are taken to the Samaritan's Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C., and will be delivered to children worldwide.

“Imagine the joy on the face of a child as he or she opens a brightly wrapped shoe box and sees the colors of the new items inside,” said Ruth Smith, relay site coordinator for the location in Connellsville. “These children live far from civilization, there are no retail stores. They don't ever shop or see new things. They don't have a lot of happiness. Many of the shoe boxes go to war-torn countries. Receiving a shoe box is a tremendous joy for them.”

Most of the shoe boxes come from organizations and church groups, but any family or individual can pack one or more shoe boxes and bring them to either drop off point next week. Those who are unable to shop for contents to fill a box can contribute funds to help with shipping costs. Those donations can be dropped off at either site next week.

Nancy Henry is a contributing writer.

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