It is a tradition for Bannertown Baptist Church to collect shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child along with Samaritan’s Purse, the charitable ministry led by Franklin Graham.
Local resident Sarah Simpson said the collection has been going on for more than 20 years and as long as there are still children in need, Bannertown Baptist shows no sign of stopping.
Collection this year will take place from Nov. 14 to Nov. 21 at Bannertown Baptist Church, 1834 Westfield Rd, in Mount Airy.
Drop off times are from Monday, Nov. 14, through Thursday, Nov. 17, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
On Friday, Nov. 18, drop offs will be accepted from 1 – 5 p.m.
Shoeboxes will be accepted from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 1 – 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20. The final collection day will be Monday, Nov. 21 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Bannertown Baptist participates in order to spread joy and cheer during the holidays to those who are less fortunate. Graham and Samaritan’s Purse also use the campaign as an outreach method to spread their message to those who may not have heard it.
Donated shoeboxes will travel to Charlotte in early December, as will Simpson, where volunteers like her will go through the donated boxes. They are looking for the odd unapproved item that may not be able to travel on a plane or be received in another country before the shoeboxes are loaded up to be sent to needy children around the world.
Operation Christmas Child asks donors not to send items like candy, toy guns, or glass items. Instead suggested items may include personal care items such as toothbrushes, combs, or hair ties. Items for crafting such as coloring books, colored pencils, or stickers are recommended.
Given the rich history of hosiery in the area, a pair of socks is a suggested item as well. Organizers encourage those sending a shoebox to consider including a personalized note to send as well.
More information on restrictions and suggested items can be found at: http:///www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/what-goes-in-my-shoebox-suggestions
Simpson said the support from the community over the years has been substantial and in years past they have collected upwards of 4,000 shoeboxes from individuals and churches in the area.
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 198 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 170 countries and territories. Organizers said that after collecting 10.5 million shoeboxes in 2021 they hope to collect enough shoeboxes to reach 11 million children this year.