Upper Cumberland residents participating in the 30th year of Operation Christmas Child this weekend, sending shoeboxes filled with gifts to underprivileged children across the globe.
The Samaritan’s Purse organization will take donations at drop boxes located around the region. Upper Cumberland Church Relations Team Member Victoria Durre said hygiene items, school supplies, and toys are needed for the organization to hit its goal of reaching 11 million children this year.
“Just knowing that we are blessed and that we can do this,” Durre said. “As a community, we can get these shoeboxes and spread god’s love just one shoebox at a time.”
Durre said that since it began, Operation Christmas Child has sent shoe boxes to some 209 million children in over 170 countries and territories like the Congo and the Philippines.
Durre said many children across the world are not able to go to school because they cannot afford supplies. Durre said this is an opportunity for the Upper Cumberland community to help those children achieve things they otherwise would not have been able to.
“This is sometimes the only gift that a child will ever receive or their first gift that they have ever received so we want to make sure that it is all new items and that it is something that they can use for a long time,” Durre said.
The items collected in the Upper Cumberland are sent to Boone North Carolina where they’re shipped worldwide, Durre said.
“It’s just a joy,” Durre said. “It’s a blessing to know that I can make one child happy and let them know that god loves them.”
Durre said a number of schools in the region are participating in the event with each grade tasked with gathering assigned items to be shipped off. Durre said that each year, the Upper Cumberland’s participation grows by two to five percent.
Collection Week for the event runs through Monday.