‘Spiritual blessings’: Donated shoeboxes helping children around the globe

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Operation Christmas Child helps give back to children in need during the Christmas season and it’s now accepting donations in Kansas.

Dozens of sites across Kansas are serving as drop-off locations this week to collect shoeboxes with donated gifts for children around the world.

The program has made Nov. 18-25 it’s National Collection Week. Dozens of area volunteers help collect thousands of shoeboxes to be shipped to more than 100 different countries.

One local mom says she’s been volunteering for Operation Christmas Child for 15 years.

“This project not only gives them the physical toys, but it gives them the spiritual blessing that only God can give,” said Lisa Caughlin, Local mom and volunteer. “We’re not able to go to Mexico or Africa, but our shoebox can.”

She says the program has become part of her family. Her children have been helping make boxes since they were three and it’s had a long-lasting impression on them.

“When they see sales at the stores, they’ll call me and say, ‘Mom, there’s a sale at Walmart,’ ‘Mom, there’s a sale at Dollar General,'” said Lisa Caughlin, volunteer. “They are living Operation Christmas Child every second of every day also, just like I do. It has made them understand that giving is way better than receiving. I know that’s like cliché and we say that all the time, but my kids totally understand that and they love to pack a shoebox for other children.”

The shoeboxes include toys, hygiene products and school supplies. The boxes can be wrapped and even include personalized items.

“We really encourage people to include a handwritten note, maybe a picture of your family that will help connect that child to the person who cared enough about them to pack that specific box just for them,” said Dawnita Miller, Media Relations, Operation Christmas Child.

This time last year the Wichita-Hutchinson area collected more than 24,000 gift-filled shoeboxes and the organization says they are hoping to top that to donate even more this year.

“Everyone in this community comes together to support Operation Christmas Child, from the youngest kids to, we have folks in the nursing homes packing boxes,” said Miller. “We have school groups, scout groups, church groups of course and lots and lots of individuals and families that make this a tradition every year for their holiday season.”

For a list of area locations click here. For more information about Operation Christmas Child, click here.

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