Every Christmas season, several million colorful shoeboxes are delivered around the globe to children in need, to war zones and sites of natural disasters, in areas of poverty and even starvation.

Inside the eagerly ripped open boxes are small gifts, hygiene items, toys and games from those in Christian organizations and churches in the U.S.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, the nondenominational evangelical Christian organization that since 1970 has been there with spiritual and physical aid for hurting people worldwide.

They have provided help in Colorado as well, including volunteers who quietly worked in the Colorado Springs area when hundreds of homes burned during the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires.

According to those in charge of Operation Christmas Child, with the current global pandemic, 2020 is a perfect time for more shoeboxes than ever before because “children need hope!”

Colorado Springs student Elizabeth Devine, a junior majoring in early childhood education at Cedarville University in Ohio, is a leader in the school’s student organization, which has a goal of packing 1,000 of the shoeboxes for children.

COVID-19 guidelines — international, U.S. and for states — have been compiled for packing the shoeboxes and organizing collections by churches or groups. Also offered, Build a Shoebox Online.

Seven curbside shoebox drop-off locations in the Pikes Peak region are part of more than 4,000 curbside collection points nationwide during Nov. 16-23. Masks required, touchless donations.

Days and times for locations are listed on samaritanspurse.org. Other sites could be added during the drive.

The local collection points are Fellowship of the Rockies, 1625 S. 8th St.; First Southern Baptist Church, 1409 Palmer Park Blvd.; Friendship Assembly of God Church, 3685 New Center Point; Living Hope Covenant Church, 6750 N. Union Blvd.; Vista Grande Baptist Church, 5680 Stetson Hills Blvd.; KTLF/KTPL Radio, 1665 Briargate Blvd., Suite 100; Cross Creek Church, 1320 C and S Road, Fountain; Cross Fellowship Church, 10915 Black Forest Road; Woodland Park Community Church, 800 Valley View Drive; and The Ascent Church, formerly Tri-Lakes Chapel, 1750 Deer Creek Road, Monument.

Additional questions: email occinfo@samaritan.org

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