Kids already set for holiday giving

"Local youths have already caught the holiday spirit, and hope to spread it around the world.Sixth graders at Bethany Lutheran Church hope community members will participate in Operation Christmas Child, by filling shoes boxes with small gifts. The boxes will be sent to children around the world who have been affected by war, disease and poverty. It is not just a church thing, said Mary Harmon, organizer. This is a way to promote an idea. It's so humanitarian. "

  • Wednesday, October 25, 2000 5:00pm
  • News

“Local youths have already caught the holiday spirit, and hope to spread it around the world.Sixth graders at Bethany Lutheran Church hope community members will participate in Operation Christmas Child, by filling shoes boxes with small gifts. The boxes will be sent to children around the world who have been affected by war, disease and poverty. It is not just a church thing, said Mary Harmon, organizer. This is a way to promote an idea. It’s so humanitarian.The program is a small part of a worldwide non-profit organization called Samaritan’s Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, son of well-known minister Billy Graham.Like the Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse is a world relief organization that builds hospitals and schools and staffs them with teachers and doctors, Harmon said. But the difference is that it includes gospel literature.It’s the third year the Bethany youth group has participated, she said, and the kids have always enjoyed it.They are old enough to do things, Harmon said, talk to people (and do) poster work, and they are asking real-life questions.The sixth graders will gather as many boxes as possible by going to schools, friends, neighbors and even door-to-door. In a prepared brochure, Franklin Graham writes:The concept is simple: caring individuals, families, churches, schools, businesses and other groups fill shoe boxes with small gifts…and we deliver these boxes worldwide to children devastated by war, poverty and disaster.Last year, Operation Christmas Child delivered boxes to 65 countries, including some of the world’s most remote regions. In Jordan, Harmon said, camels carried gifts across the desert to reach the tents of Bedouin children, and deep in the Amazon jungle of Suriname, gifts were transported to riverside villages by dugout canoe.Businesses that would like to set up displays should contact Bethany Lutheran Church, and youths will bring brochures, stickers and other information from Samaritan’s Purse. Or just find an empty shoe box of your own. Determine whether it will be for a girl or boy, and what age group, and put that information on a small piece of paper attach to the top of the box. Then fill the box with gifts such as toys, school supplies, hygiene items, hard candy, flashlight, batteries, socks or hair clips. Participants are asked to exclude used items, war-related toys, perishable items (including chocolate), medicines and liquids. Enclose a letter with your address and perhaps a picture of yourself, and a $5 (or more) check in an envelope and place it in the shoe box to cover shipping and other costs. Boxes can be dropped off at the church, or at the Law offices of Sherrard and McGonagle on Madison Avenue, Nov. 13-19. The boxes leave the island Nov. 20. For more information, call Mary Harmon at 842-9672 or log onto www.samaritanspurse.orgHarmon cited stories in which children in a country like Bosnia, Honduras or the Philippines are in need of a particular item like a calculator – and the box that they receive happens to contain it.These boxes are vehicles to allow God’s miracles to happen, she said. He knows who needs what and who has it to give. “

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