WASHINGTON COUNTY – With the impacts of Hurricane Michael, Operation Christmas Child is requesting donors to pack extra items and consider their shoebox gifts in a special way - with prayer.

"Together we can give the Central Panhandle a strong presence," a Samaritan's Purse news release states.

Operation Christmas Child will be underway in Washington, Holmes, Jackson and Bay Counties on November 12.

This year, Panhandle-area residents hope to collect more than 18,750 gifts to contribute to the 2018 global goal of reaching 11 million children, the news release stated. Shoeboxes contain things such as fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items.

"We are honored to be linking arms with our community to help children around the world experience the true meaning of Christmas," said year-round Panhandle volunteer Donna Mosier, who has participated in Operation Christmas Child for many, many years. "These simple gifts show God’s love to children facing difficult circumstances."

She noted her volunteerism is an honorable duty and is an expression of "God's love to children" to the communities served.

A project of Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child collects shoebox gifts and delivers them to children in need around the world to demonstrate compassion in a tangible way, the release stated. The Samaritan’s Purse project partners with local churches across the world to deliver these expressions of God’s love to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine.

The project, which began in 1993, has delivered more than 157 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 160 countries and territories, the release stated.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 850-227-5185, or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through "Follow Your Box" and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.



Local collection site: Shiloh Baptist Church, 1976 Shiloh Lane

Monday, Nov. 12: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 13: 1 to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 14: 3 to 6 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 15: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 16: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 17: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 18: 3 to 6 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 19: 8 to 11 a.m.



Central drop off location: First Baptist Church of Chipley, 1300 South Boulevard

Monday, Nov. 12 through Friday, Nov. 16 : 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 17: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 18: 12 to 4 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 19: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.