Celina now collection point for one of world’s largest Christmas projects

CELINA-Christmas is arriving early here all over Celina, as First Baptist Church prepares to serve as a new collection point for Operation Christmas Child.

This will be the first year the city of Celina has ever hosted a collection site for shoe box gifts and the participation of residents here, with the help of this new collection location, will help ensure 8.5 million children suffering from natural disaster, war, terrorism, disease, poverty and famine will have Christmas this year.

“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 Brenda Spain, a local volunteer with Operation Christmas Child who was instrumental in setting up the new relay center. “We are excited about the 2011 collection season as community members have already begun packing shoe box gifts.”

National Collection Week is November 14-21, when collection sites around the United States, like First Baptist Church will open their doors to receive shoe box gifts.

Residents are encouraged to fill shoe boxes with school supplies, toys, necessity items and a letter of encouragement.  Others can help enlist families, churches, scout troops, community groups and businesses to take part in creating shoe box gifts.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has hand-delivered more than 86 million gift-filled shoe boxes to needy children in some 130 countries.

Operation Christmas Child uses whatever means necessary to reach suffering children around the world including sea containers, trucks, trains, airplanes, boats, camels and even dog sleds. Tracking technology is utilized and allows donors to “follow your box” to the destination country where it will be hand-delivered to a child in need.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call (931) 243-2882 or visit www.samaritanspurse.org.