With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Brazil families, businesses, schools and churches are putting their gratitude in action and celebrating their blessings by giving back.
Through Operation Christmas Child, local residents are joining tens of thousands of people across the country to fill empty shoe boxes with toys, school supplies and necessary 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.
Brazil-area residents hope to contribute more than 750 shoe box gifts to this year's collection goal of 9 million gift-filled shoe boxes in order to help surpass the 100 million milestone.
This year-round project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan's Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, is ramping up as local businesses, churches and community groups prepare to collect gift-filled shoe boxes during National Collection Week, scheduled for Nov. 12-19.
Anyone can drop off a packed shoe box at the Brazil area collection site. Then, using whatever means necessary -- trucks, trains, boats, bikes and even elephants -- the shoe box gifts will be hand-delivered to hurting children in 100 countries around the world.
The Brazil area collection site is Union United Methodist Church, 780 E. CR 600 N., Brazil.
Collection times include Monday, Nov. 12, 6-8 p.m.; Tuesday, Nov. 13, 6-8 p.m.; Wednesday, Nov. 14, 9-11 a.m.; Thursday, Nov. 15, 6-8 p.m; Friday, Nov. 16, 9-11 a.m.; Saturday, Nov. 17, 9 a.m.-noon; Sunday, Nov. 18, 9 a.m.-noon; and Monday, Nov. 19, 8-10 a.m.
For more information, call 1-800-353-5949.
Operation Christmas Child uses tracking technology to allow participants to "follow" their box to the destination country where it will be given to a child in need.
To register shoe box gifts and find out the destination country, use the "Follow Your Box" donation form found at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, log on to www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.