Soon, with the help of area volunteers, Union United Methodist Church, 780 E. County Road 600 N., Brazil, will be brimming with festively wrapped shoe boxes full of gifts.
Through Operation Christmas Child, the world's largest Christmas project, Brazil residents are packing shoe box gifts for children in more than 100 countries suffering from natural disaster, war, terrorism, disease, famine and poverty.
From Brazil, the shoebox gifts will be sorted and sent using whatever means necessary -- sea containers, trucks, trains, airplanes, boats, camels, even dog sleds -- 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 sway," Operation Christmas Child drop off site coordinator Sara Schultz said. "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 their box to the destination country where it will be hand delivered to a child in need.
To register shoebox gifts and find out what country they are delivered to, use the EZ Give donation form found at www.samaritanspurse.org.
Those interested in contributing may do so Monday, Nov. 16, from 6-8:30 p.m., or by appointment Tuesday, Nov. 17-Friday, Nov. 20, also from 6-8:30 p.m.
In addition, drop off times have been scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 21, from noon-6 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 22, from 9 a.m.-noon.
This year, organizers hope to collect 2,500 shoeboxes.
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan's Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, has delivered more than 69 million gift boxes to needy children in approximately 130 countries.
Donated items of interest include school supplies, toys, necessity items, hard candy and a letter of encouragement.