First Christian Church is joining in a national effort to send Christmas gifts in shoe boxes to children in war-torn countries.
The concept is simple.
You take a shoe box, fill it with sealed hard candy or gum, small toys, school supplies or even personal hygiene items. Then you wrap the shoe box and send it to a child in a war-torn countries to help brighten his or her holiday.
Called Operation Christmas Child, it is a project of Samaritans Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, Evangelist Billy Graham's son.
"For many of these children, this will be the only gift they will receive," said Mary Rowlands, who is coordinating the local project at First Christian Church, 1000 Ky.
The shoe box gifts go to about 25 countries throughout the world, including Bosnia, Rwanda and Lebanon.
The church will collect the shoe boxes this weekend as part of its Thanksgiving celebration.
The church asks that filled shoe boxes be delivered to the church office no later than Sunday morning. To pay for shipping, $5 should be placed in an envelope in the shoe box.
The box and lid should be wrapped separately. The donor should decide whether the gift will be for a boy or girl and the child's age category: infant, ages 2 to 4, ages 5 to 9 or ages 10 to 14.
Besides the small gifts, you can enclose a note to the child and a photo of you or your family.
For more information, contact the church at 843-0679.
The shoe boxes will be sorted by age and gender and sent to a collection center in Buckner, Mo., Rowlands said.
The project is designed as a hands-on opportunity for children to get involved in packing and decorating the boxes, she said.
"It is an opportunity just for us and for our children to remember the importance of mission and remember the real message of Christmas, which is God's gift to the world, Jesus Christ," she said.
-- Dave Toplikar's phone message number is 832-7151. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.