Local operation Christmas Child officials promote this year’s giving to children at the recent Apple Festival. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Local operation Christmas Child officials promote this year’s giving to children at the recent Apple Festival. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)

VAN WERT – For the 25th straight year, people around the world, including those in Van Wert County, will be filling shoe boxes with gifts and delivering them to children in need around the world. Each box is considered to be an opportunity for a boy or girl to experience the love of God in a tangible way and hear the Gospel.

“In the Van Wert area we have been very fortunate to have Operation Christmas Child (OCC) active in Van Wert, Ohio City, Convoy and also at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds,” commented Lyndel Smith, who assists in heading up the effort in this area.

Recently, members of the OCC Committee passed out boxes and informed people concerning their effort to organize and collect in the region. National Collection Week is Nov. 12-19. The local drop-off site is Calvary Evangelical Church.

“Last year, those giving in the Van Wert area collected nearly 2,500 boxes,” said Smith. “Those who don’t live in the Van Wert area can inquire concerning groups in their area.

“Last year, nearly 30 churches, community groups such as Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts , school groups and other organizations participated in the local effort,” continued Smith.

Waltz said that steps to giving include finding a standard size shoe box, filling it with recommended toys or other gifts, praying for the child who is going to receive your gifted box, including a nine dollar donation to assist with the shipment of the box and taking your box to a drop-off location the third week in November.

Potential gifts include various toys, accessories such as socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry and watches and flashlights, school supplies and non-liquid hygiene items such as toothbrushes, bar of soap, washcloths and combs.

Everyone is encouraged to write a note to your child and include a picture of yourself and your family. If you include your name and address, the child may be able to write back.

“For me, this is a special way to share the Gospel of Jesus in a tangible way. It is a chance to offer hope, provide joy and help supply things that they need,” said Smith.

“I like it because the children have the optional opportunity to enroll in our follow-up discipleship program, ‘The Greatest Journey,’ where they learn to follow Christ and share Him with other people,” added Smith.