Operation Christmas Child does not take food items, except for individually wrapped candies, such as suckers and Skittles, for example. Chocolate melts, so it’s not accepted. Also, nothing liquid, such as shampoo, bubbles, snowglobes or pop.
No war-related toys, such as G.I. Joes, should be donated.
“Many of these kids are from places that have seen war for real,” Adams said.
Church volunteers will collect items all week, pack shoe boxes into cartons and load them into a truck to be driven to the processing center in the Twin Cities.
Donors can “follow” their shoe boxes to the country in which their gift will be hand-delivered to a child in need with a $7 shipping donation. (To register your shoe box gift, use the “Follow Your Box” form at www.SamaritansPurse.org/OCC.) They may also include a letter in their donated box; Adams said donors sometimes receive letters back.
Operation Christmas Child sends the boxes to 130 different countries. The goal this year is to deliver the gifts to 9.1 million children, which will push the organization over the edge of delivering boxes to more than 100 million children since the program began in 1993.
Hilltop United hopes to surpass the 4,200 boxes it collected last year.
“We’ll be happy with whatever we receive,” Adams said. “We would certainly like to increase that number, but it’s up to the individual donations.”
Operation Christmas Child is a project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse. It’s the largest Christmas project of its kind in the world.