Operation Christmas Child seeks to provide for children in need

By Megan Kelley

Review Writer

During the holiday season, Lake Orion organizations prepare to provide for those in need.

By taking the idea of “the season of giving” and amplifying it they are able to make strides to make these cold fall/winter months a happier time for everyone.

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Lake Orion is one of the many organizations that gather together during the holiday season to spread Christmas cheer to upwards of 130 countries with Operation Christmas Child.

Operation Christmas Child is a project created by Samaritan’s Purse in 1993. In the organization’s history, more than 168 million gift-filled shoeboxes have been delivered to children in need across the globe.

Lake Orion drop off center coordinator, Melissa Clark, has been volunteering with her family for 23 years and has since become an important part of the process itself.

“The gift filled shoeboxes go to needy children in the world and hard to reach countries,” Clark said. “There’s no food or medical care, but we provide some hygiene and school supplies. Some kids need pencils and paper of their own to even go to school. And a toy is given as well.”

Supplies and gifts given in the shoeboxes are intended to be fun items that the children would normally not receive.

“The message is that there is hope. Maybe they’re hungry five days out of the week but there is still hope,” Clark said.

Often times, school supplies and hygiene products are the most neglected as far as donations received but are sometimes, arguably, the most important.

That and financial support.

It costs $9 to ship one shoebox and even though millions of shoeboxes are delivered worldwide each year, it is rare for any given child to receive more than one box in their lifetime, Clark said.

Operation Christmas Child offers numerous ways to get involved in the project, including volunteering at drop off, collection or processing centers, making toys for the boxes and donating to help fill and ship boxes.

Donations can be made online at www.samaritanspurse.org.

Additional questions regarding donations or volunteer opportunities can be emailed to occrcgslclo@gmail.com.

Collection week for Operation Christmas Child begins on Nov. 18 through Nov. 25 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1950 S. Baldwin Rd. Hours of operation are Monday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 8 a.m. – noon, Saturday 8 a.m. – noon and Sunday noon – 2:30 p.m.

Good Shepherd of Lake Orion can be reached at 248-391-1170.