For the 12th year in a row, Tooele County will participate in Operation Christmas Child, a charity project that transcends borders.
Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse runs Operation Christmas Child. Each year, the group invites people to fill a shoebox with gifts for a child between 2 and 14 years old and turn it in at a drop-off location in their area. People can also fill a shoebox online at samaritanspurse.org/occ.
Ideas for the best items to put in the shoebox and more information about the project are available on the website. After all the shoeboxes have been collected, Samaritan’s Purse adds a booklet about Jesus Christ to each box and distributes them.
The boxes go to children in at least 126 countries, including the United States, said Liz Smith, local project coordinator.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “We’ve had them in Mongolia, Madagascar, Mexico, a lot of African countries, Afghanistan — they go all over the world.”
The organization has distributed 135 million shoeboxes since 1993, according to samaritanspurse.org.
Smith has been involved in the project for as long as the county has.
“I love the fact it brings so much joy to these little kids,” she said. “Most of these kids have never received a gift in their lives and they do get to learn about Jesus; the story is in there with it. It’s just a passion I’ve developed over the years.”
In Smith’s opinion, the best type of box to use for the project is one made of plastic, because after the child has emptied it, their family can use it to store food and other supplies. She also loves to involve her kids in selecting gifts.
“We like to do it as a family,” she said. “It’s kind of fun and good for the kids because they learn about service.”
People interested in participating are urged to get started, because Samaritans Purse will collect the boxes during National Collection Week, Nov. 14-21.
After filling a box, donors can drop it off at Grantsville High School during school hours. They can also drop it off at the Mountain of Faith Lutheran Church, located at 560 S. Main Street in Tooele.
The church will be open to accept donations Monday-Friday from 6-8 p.m., on Nov. 19 from noon to 6 p.m., on Nov. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Nov. 21 from 9-11 a.m.
Immediately after 11 a.m. on Nov. 21, volunteers will deliver the collected shoeboxes to Salt Lake City, Smith said.