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Shop for deals to give needy children basic school supplies and necessities

Friday, August 17, 2012

MCCOOK, Nebraska --There are tens of millions of children in developing countries who have never attended school. (Source: UNICEF) While a number of factors contribute to a lack of education among children in developing nations, one key component is access to basic school supplies.

However, this back-to-school season, McCook parents, kids and teens are looking beyond their own school supply lists and making a difference in the lives of needy kids overseas. By maximizing back-to-school sales, McCook families are stocking up on items for Operation Christmas Child, a year-round project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan's Purse, headed by Franklin Graham. Participants fill shoe boxes with school materials, toys, necessity items, and letters of encouragement for children in poverty around the world.

This shoe box packing effort, requiring months of organization and preparation, is expected to bless over 9 million children this year suffering the effects of natural disaster, disease, war, terrorism, famine and poverty. In 2012, Operation Christmas Child anticipates reaching a milestone--collecting and delivering shoe boxes to more than 100 million children since the project began in 1993. Through the power of a simple gift and the message of hope through Jesus Christ, children learn they are loved and not forgotten. For many of these children, the shoe box will be the first gift they have ever received.

How you can help:

PREPARE - Help enlist families, churches, scout troops, community groups and businesses to take advantage of back-to-school sales by collecting school supplies for shoe box gifts. 

PACK -- During National Collection Week (Nov. 12--19), fill shoe boxes with school materials, toys, necessity items and a letter of encouragement and drop it off at a collection site near you. Step-by-step shoe box packing instructions are available at: www.samaritanspurse.org/OCC.

By using special tracking technology, participants can "follow" their shoe box and discover the country in which their gift will be hand-delivered to a child in need. To register your shoe box gift, use the "Follow Your Box" form online. 

VOLUNTEER -- Volunteers are needed year-round. For volunteer opportunities visit www.samaritanspurse.org/OCC and click on "Volunteer" for more details and information.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call your local volunteer, Stephanie Stevens at (308) 345-5688, or visit www.samaritanspurse.org/OCC.

National Collection Week for gift-filled shoe boxes is Nov. 12-19; however, shoe box gifts are collected all year at the Samaritan's Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C.

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