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Lahaina church assisting world’s biggest Christmas project

By Staff | Nov 12, 2009

Shoe boxes filled with gifts will be sent to needy children in more than 100 countries.

LAHAINA — Christmas is arriving early all over Maui, as a local church prepares to serve as a collection point for Operation Christmas Child.

From Monday through Friday, Nov. 16-23, volunteers at Lahaina Baptist Church will collect shoe boxes filled with gifts donated by Maui residents for children in more than 100 countries suffering from natural disaster, war, terrorism, disease, famine and poverty.

Organizers hope to collect 1,000 gift-filled shoe boxes from families, keiki, churches, schools and civic organizations in the area. Volunteers will sort the items and send the festively wrapped shoe boxes full of gifts by whatever means necessary — sea containers, trucks, trains, airplanes, boats, camels, even dog sleds and sleighs — to reach suffering children around the world.

“Operation Christmas Child is a unique opportunity to do something as simple as packing a shoe box that will have a lasting impact on a child a world away,” said Josta Santos, Operation Christmas Child drop-off site coordinator. “We are excited about the 2009 collection season as community members have already begun packing shoe box gifts.”

Operation Christmas Child uses tracking technology that allows donors to “follow your box” to the destination country where it will be hand-delivered to a child in need. To register shoe box gifts and find out what country they are delivered to, use the EZ Give donation form found at www.samaritanspurse.org.

Prepare: Enlist families, churches, scout troops, community groups and businesses to take part in creating shoe box gifts for needy children worldwide.

Pack: Fill shoe boxes with school supplies, toys, necessity items, hard candy and a letter of encouragement. Step-by-step shoe box packing instructions are available at www.samaritanspurse.org.

Process: Sign up to join Operation Christmas Child volunteers as part of the effort to prepare millions of shoe box gifts for delivery to underprivileged kids on six continents.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call (714) 432-7030.

Lahaina Baptist Church is located at 209 Shaw St. in Lahaina. Call (800) 410-7631.