(WEAU) - People in Eau Claire are trying to make sure children around the world have a better holiday season.
Operation Christmas Child is a nationwide project that hopes to pack 9 million shoe boxes for children in 100 countries worldwide. Locally, project organizers working at Peace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire, say they hope to pack 1,000 boxes to go towards the total.
The boxes are filled with toys, school supplies and necessity items for impoverished children.
Volunteer Shea Van Proosdy says "it's been great because a variety of people can put a shoe box together. It's so wonderful to see these little kids so excited to pick their shoe box and fill it up with their families, so it's a neat project."
People who send a box can actually "follow" it and see which country it is hand-delivered to a child in, thanks to special tracking technology.
Worldwide Christmas Project to Collect Shoe Box Gifts for Hurting Children Overseas during National Collection Week - Nov. 12-19
EAU CLAIRE, Wis., Nov. 12, 2012- With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Eau Claire families, businesses, schools and churches are putting their gratitude in action and celebrating their blessings by giving back. Through Operation Christmas Child, locals are joining millions of people across the U.S. to fill empty shoe boxes with toys, school supplies and necessity items for impoverished children around the world.
In 2012, Operation Christmas Child expects to reach a milestone-collecting and delivering shoe boxes to more than 100 million children since the project began in 1993. Eau Claire residents hope to contribute 1,000 shoe box gifts to this year's global collection goal of 9 million gift-filled shoe boxes in order to help surpass the 100 million milestone.
November 12-19, packed gifts will be dropped off at the collection site in Eau Claire. Once dropped off, the shoe boxes are processed, prepared and transported to suffering children in more than 100 countries using whatever means necessary-trains, airplanes, boats, elephants, bikes and even dog sleds-to get the shoe boxes into the hands of needy kids.
Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan's Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, is the world's largest Christmas project of its kind. 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 gift will be the first gift they've ever received.
Peace Lutheran Church
501 E Fillmore Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Nov 15: 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Fri - Nov 16: 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Sat - Nov 17: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Sun - Nov 18: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Mon - Nov 19: 9 a.m. - 11 a.m.
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.