published: Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Operation Christmas Child collection sites set
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING - A local group of volunteers will be busy making the world, and this community, a better place in the upcoming week.
Operation Christmas Child, an internationally known project, is targeting children and their needs as we enter the end of the year and the holiday season. Operation Christmas Child is a part of the Samaritan's Purse organization. The project has been around for four decades and continues to bring together volunteers and those in need all over the world.
Locally, OCC has been contributing to the hurting world for 10 years. The basic idea behind OCC is fill a shoe box with items for hurting people throughout the world.
Area coordinator Margaret Sager and her many volunteers continue their service this year and are gearing up for their big collection week, which runs concurrently with the national collection week Nov. 12-19.
The shoe boxes will all go to needy children around the world. The millions of recipients of OCC boxes are spread throughout the world in a total of 100 countries.
Each of the boxes provide hope and a sense of prosperity to those in need.
Last year the Florida region, along with Puerto Rico, collected a total of 348,352 OCC boxes. The 2011 collection was an 11 percent increase over the previous year.
Closer to home, the local collection sites contributed 3,791 boxes to the regional and national total.
"We are accepting the boxes at our collection sites. We cover three counties right now, Highlands, Hardee and Glades," Sager explained.
The two collection sites in Highlands County will be ready and waiting on the first day of collection week on Monday, Nov. 12. The Sebring collection site is at Bible Fellowship Church, 3750 Hammock Road. Collection times are as follows:
Monday - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tuesday - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 14 - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 15 - 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 16 - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 17 - 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 18 - 1-5 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 19 - 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Lake Placid collection site is at First Baptist Church of Lake Placid, 119 E. Royal Palm Ave. Collection times are as follows:
Monday and Tuesday - 3-4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 14 - 9-10:30 a.m. and 3-4:30 p.m.
Thursday and Friday, Nov. 15 and 16 - 3-4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 17 - 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 18 - 9-10:30 a.m.
Operation Christmas Child is closely approaching a milestone of providing boxes to its 100 millionth person since it's inception in 1993. Sager is confident in the local communities effort to continue come together to make this an even bigger collection year and touch the lives of the many people across the world.
"Last year a lot of our boxes went to Haiti. We had many that went to Africa as well. They seem to always go to the Caribbean area and warmer climate countries but they always go to children in countries that are in need," Sager said.
"The countries are on a seven-year rotation cycle that way the boxes aren't going to the same kids every year and we can touch more people."
These "life-changing" gifts can bring joy, happiness and, in many cases, basic necessities to someone in need.
The boxes can even be tracked around the world so that the donator can discover where their donation ended up and who it touched.
"For a $7 contribution for shipping costs, the box is fitted with a tracking shipping label. When it gets to its drop-off location it is scanned and the sender can log on to see the exact location," Sager explained.
Local organizations are gearing up for "packing parties" to get a jump start on the collection week chaos and to contribute to the cause. Highlands County 4H clubs will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Bert J. Harris Jr. Agri-Civic Center to pack boxes. The 4H-ers hope to pack 100 boxes. Bible Fellowship Church will hold its packing party Wednesday evening.
Boxes may be dropped off at the collection sites beginning Monday. Any standard shoe box is acceptable. (Small plastic tuberware boxes are also accepted.) Items such as small toys, soap, crayons, notepads, combs, toothbrush, candy or any item that may bring a child joy will be accepted. Military or "war items" - such as toy guns, military figurines, knives - liquids, medications and food can not be accepted. Boxes may be designated for a boy or a girl.
The truck will load up every donated box and head to mail the items on Nov. 20; all boxes must be turned in by Nov. 19.
For more information on local efforts or to pick up boxes for donation contact Sager at email@example.com or call 386-0414.
For more information about packing instructions, labels or to make a donation to OCC visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ/.
Small Banner Ads