Area residents are invited to gather shoe boxes and small toys and treats for Operation Christmas Child's National Collection Week, which will be held Nov. 14 through Nov. 21. Boxes can be dropped off at the First Baptist Church in Cassville.
Operation Christmas Child gifts can include any of the following items:
* Toys: small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, a small Etch A Sketch, a Slinky and other toys that light up or make noise, with extra batteries.
* School supplies: pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, stamps and ink pad sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators and coloring and picture books.
* Hygiene items: toothbrushes, toothpaste, mild bar soap in a plastic bag, combs and washclothes.
* Other: hard candy and lollipops, mints, gum, T-shirts, socks, ball caps, sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches and flashlights with extra batteries. All candy should be double bagged.
* A personal note: Individuals are invited to include a note to the child and a photo of their family in a separate envelope. Some children send letters back to families that include their name and address.
Used or damaged items, toy guns, knives, military figures, chocolate, food, out-of-date candy, liquids, lotions, medications, vitamins, breakable items and aerosol cans should not be included in Operation Christmas Child packages.
Gift items should be placed in an empty standard size shoe box or small plastic container. Boxes can be wrapped, but lids must be wrapped separately. Wrapping is not required.
Donors are asked to determine whether their gift should be given to a boy or a girl. The donor is also asked to select one of the following age categories for the gift: 2 to 4 years of age; 5 to 9 years of age; or 10 to 14 years of age.
Donors should enclose at least $7 for each shoe box to help cover shipping and other project costs. The donation can be made online at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ using the "Follow Your Box Donation" option.
Checks can also be submitted with shoe boxes. Donations should be placed in an envelope on top of the gift items inside the box. If more than one box is submitted, the donor should include one check with the combined shipping donation.
Cassville First Baptist Church is working to collect 700 Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes for this year's shipment. Area residents are invited to join in the effort by submitting shoe boxes next week.
Operation Christmas Child gift boxes will be collected at the church, which is located at 602 West St. in Cassville, from noon to 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14 through Friday, Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20.
The final collection day will be held on Monday, Nov. 21. Donations can be dropped off at the church from 8 a.m. to noon on the final day.
Donations will also be accepted at Blessings Books and Gifts, located on Broadway Street in Monett, or can be mailed to Samaritan's Purse, Operation Christmas Child, 801 Bamboo Rd. Boone, NC 28607.
For more information on Operation Christmas Child, call First Baptist Church at 847-2965 or visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.