Editor, The Courier:

I am writing to thank Jackson County residents for sharing the true meaning of Christmas with children around the world. The generosity of area residents enabled the Southern Ohio Area Team to exceed our goal by collecting 1,830 of the area’s 13,041 gift-filled shoeboxes packed for Operation Christmas Child. This project of international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse includes U.S. and international efforts, including Germany, Australia, Canada, U.K. and other sending countries. These contributions resulted in the collection of life-changing gifts for 10,569,405 children around the world.

Through shoeboxes, packed with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items, area churches, schools, community groups and families brought joy to children in need. Each gift-filled shoebox is a tangible expression of God’s love, and it is often the first gift these children have ever received. Thanks to the generosity of donors, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 178 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories since 1993.

It’s not too early for people to make a difference! Though both Jackson County Drop-off locations are closed until Nov. 16–23; anyone can still be a part of this life-changing project by beginning to collect items to pack, or to plan packing parties at churches, schools, community groups or with friends and family. Information about year-round volunteer opportunities can also be found on the website at samaritanspurse.org/occ or by calling Southern Ohio Area Coordinator Sherrie Klingaman at 740 395-6468.

Thank you again to everyone who participated in this global project — many who do so year after year. These simple gifts, packed with love, send a message to children worldwide that they are loved and not forgotten.

Gaylene St. Leger Cox

Southern Ohio Area Team Media Support

Operation Christmas Child

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