North Coast Family Fellowship in Seaside will be the Clatsop County drop-off site for Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse that provides shoeboxes filled with gifts and supplies to children in developing countries.
The church, at 2245 N. Wahanna Road, will be open at various times throughout Nov. 16 through 23, which is national collection week. Donors can drop off shoeboxes packed with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement.
The program’s objective is to facilitate “children around the world receiving a special shoebox from other children around the world,” said LeAnn Kinnee, the area coordinator for Portland and Northwest Oregon. What makes the program so special, she added, is it helps “someone to have Christmas for the first time.”
“It could change a child’s life,” she said.
This year, Seaside project coordinators hope to collect 1,050 shoebox gifts to deliver to children.
Kinnee said they track donations at collection sites and try to increase them by 10 percent each year.
Donors may use any type of shoebox, but the rule of thumb is a box for men’s size 10 shoes, Kinnee said. Plastic shoeboxes with lids are even better, because recipients can reuse them for other purposes.
The first step to preparing the shoebox is to decide if it will go to a boy or girl and from which age category: 2 to 4 years old; 5 to 9 years old; or 10 to 14 years old.
Donors should put in one age-appropriate, quality gift — such as a sports ball with a pump, an outfit, shoes, a musical instrument, a doll or a stuffed animal — and then smaller items. In particular, children in developing countries need school supplies, including pens, pencils and pencil sharpeners, markers, crayons, solar-powered calculators, notebooks or picture books, Kinnee said.
Boxes should not include sharp, flammable, liquid or breakable items. For more ideas, visit the Operation Christmas Child page at samaritanspurse.org.
The deadline for drop-off is the morning of Nov. 23, because volunteers will then load the shoeboxes onto semi-trucks to deliver to the state collection center near Portland.
North Coast Family Fellowship is the only drop-off location in the area. The next nearest site is in Tillamook, Kinnee said. She hopes to eventually get another site in Astoria or Cannon Beach.
A majority of the shoeboxes are delivered to children in more than 100 developing countries worldwide. A few are saved to support children in case of natural disasters in the United States, Kinnee said.
North Coast Family Fellowship drop-off hours:
Monday, Nov. 16: 6 to 9 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 17: 6 to 9 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 18: 6 to 9 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 19: 6 to 9 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 20: 6 to 9 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 21: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 22: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 23: 8 to 9 a.m.
A complete list of drop-off sites is available at Samaritanspurse.org/occ.