18,800 gift-filled shoe boxes being gathered for children overseas

Released by Bryce Wilks with Samaritan's Purse:

TYLER, TX - Christmas is arriving early all over Tyler, as local churches and schools prepare to serve as collection points for Operation Christmas Child.  Soon, with the help of local volunteers, the sites will be brimming with festively wrapped shoe boxes full of gifts.

Through Operation Christmas Child, the world's largest Christmas project, Tyler residents are packing shoe box gifts for children in more than 100 countries suffering from natural disaster, war, terrorism, disease, famine and poverty.  From Tyler, the shoe box gifts will be sorted and sent using whatever means necessary-sea containers, trucks, trains, airplanes, boats, camels, even dog sleds-to reach suffering children around the world.

"Operation Christmas Child is a unique opportunity to do something as simple as packing a shoe box that will have a lasting impact on a child a world away," said Nanelle Houston, Operation Christmas Child drop-off site coordinator. "We are excited about the 2009 collection season as community members have already begun packing shoe box gifts."

Operation Christmas Child uses tracking technology that allows donors to "follow your box" to the destination country where it will be hand-delivered to a child in need.  To register shoe box gifts and find out what country they are delivered to, use the EZ Give donation form found at www.samaritanspurse.org.


Grace Community High School
3001 University Boulevard
Tyler, TX  75707
(903) 566-5661

Nov. 16-20  8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Nov. 21        10 a.m. - Noon
Nov. 22        By appointment
Nov. 23        10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Lifeway Christian Store
3500 S. Broadway Ave.
Tyler, TX75701
During Store Hours on Nov. 14 only     

In 2008, the Tyler area contributed 17,700 boxes to the Operation Christmas Child effort.  This year, organizers hope to collect 18,800 gift-filled shoe boxes from families, kids, churches, schools and civic organizations in the area.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan's Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, has delivered more than 69 million gift-filled shoe boxes to needy children in some 130 countries.


*          PREPARE-Enlist families, churches, scout troops, community groups and businesses to take part in creating shoe box gifts for needy children worldwide.

*          PACK-Fill shoe boxes with school supplies, toys, necessity items, hard candy and a letter of encouragement.  Step-by-step shoe box packing instructions are available at www.samaritanspurse.org.

*          PROCESS-Sign up to join Operation Christmas Child volunteers at collection sites around Tyler as part of the effort to prepare millions of shoe box gifts for delivery to underprivileged kids on six continents.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call (817) 595-2230 or visit

.  National Collection Week is Nov. 16-23.