Monett families are participating in the world's largest Christmas project, Operation Christmas Child. This effort has hand-delivered 86 million gifts to kids worldwide since 1993. Locally, Blessings Books and Gifts in Monett is spearheading the collection effort.
"We are so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of Operation Christmas Child and to be able to touch the lives of hundreds of children for Christ," said Kathi Skaggs, owner and operator of Blessings Books and Gifts in Monett. "This is a wonderful, hands-on ministry for individuals, families, co-workers, groups or churches that is inexpensive and fun for all ages."
Operation Christmas Child is a project sponsored by Samaritan's Purse, headed by Billy Graham's son, Franklin Graham. It encourages volunteers to fill simple shoe boxes with toys and necessity items.
The gifts are hand-delivered to children worldwide who are suffering because of natural disaster, disease, war, terrorism, famine and poverty.
People of all ages can be involved in this simple, hands-on missions project.
National Collection week will be held from Nov. 14 to Nov. 21. Blessings Books and Gifts in Monett, owned and operated by Kathi Skaggs, is a relay point for drop off. The business is located at 222 E. Broadway. Drop off hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Items that are suggested are school supplies, including: pens and pencils; sharpeners; crayons or markers; stamps and ink pad sets and writing pads or paper; solar calculators and coloring and picture books.
Toys that are suggested are: small cars; balls; dolls; stuffed animals; kazoos; harmonicas; yo-yos; jump ropes; small Etch-A-Sketch; toys that light up or make noise with extra batteries; and Slinkies.
Hygiene items that are needed are: toothbrushes; toothpaste; mild bar soaps in a plastic bags; combs and washclothes.
Other items that could be included are: hard candy and lollipops; mints and gum; T-shirts; socks; ball caps; sunglasses; hair clips; toy jewelry; watches; and flashlights with extra batteries.
In a separate envelope, a note to the child could be included and a photo.
Items that cannot be included are: war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes; or glass containers and aerosol cans.
Tracking technology allows donors to follow their boxes to the destination country. To register shoe box gifts and find the destination country, use the Follow Your Box donation form found at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.
For more information, extra shoeboxes or to volunteer during collection week, call Kathi Skaggs at Blessings Books and Gifts at 635-1006.