Operation Christmas Child

(Submitted) Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 178 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

It's that time again — time for Tallassee area residents to begin transforming empty shoeboxes into gifts of hope filled with school supplies, hygiene items, notes of encouragement and fun toys, such as a doll or soccer ball. Operation Christmas Child will deliver these shoebox gifts to children around the world living in extreme poverty or affected by war, disease and natural disaster.

Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan's Purse, seeks to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 178 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

"It is such a blessing to be a part of making a difference in the lives of children facing difficult circumstances," drop-off center coordinator at Tallassee First Assembly of God Teresa Wheat said."There is no joy quite like that of giving, and it is an honor to use our resources to let children around the world know they are loved and not forgotten. This mission is also a wonderful way to teach our own children the joy of giving while expecting nothing in return."

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, visit

samaritanspurse.org/occ. By going online to give the suggested donation of $9 per shoebox gift which helps with delivery costs and included printed material, participants can follow their box to discover where in the world it will be delivered. They can also pack a shoebox gift online and even upload a photo and note of encouragement.

First Assembly of God is again an official drop-off location for Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts. This year the collection of shoeboxes will be handled curbside for everyone's safety and convenience during the pandemic. First Assembly of God is located at 185 Friendship Rd. in Tallassee.

The collection will be held the week of Nov. 16-22. Drop-off hours are Monday from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., Wednesday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m.