Operation Christmas Child will be setting up local locations later this month to collect shoebox gifts filled with toys and other items for the Samaritan’s Purse project and now is the time to work on assembling these boxes.

During the project’s National Collection Week, Nov. 18–25, volunteers in Rocky Mount and surrounding areas hope to collect more than 15,500 gifts to contribute to Operation Christmas Child’s 2019 goal of reaching 11 million children in need this year, said MacKenzie Ross of the Samaritan’s Purse organization.

“I love seeing the local community rally together for a global impact,” said Regional Director Lindsay Wooten. “We see all ages getting involved — and more and more every year.”

This month, sites in the Rocky Mount area will be among 5,000 U.S. drop-off locations collecting shoebox gifts for children overseas during Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week.

Many Rocky Mount families, churches and groups are busy transforming empty shoeboxes into fun gifts filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items. The Samaritan’s Purse project partners with local churches across the globe to deliver these gifts to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine.

For many of these children, it will be the first gift they ever receive.

In Rocky Mount, collections will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 18, 19, 20, 21 and 24 at Calvary Baptist Church at 505 S Englewood Drive. Additional drop-off times at this location are from 10 a.m. to noon on Nov. 22 and 23 and from 1 to 3 p.m. on Nov. 25.

In Tarboro, collections will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 18 to 22, from 1 to 3 p.m. on Nov. 23 and 24 and 10 a.m. to noon on Nov. 25 at the First Baptist Church at 605 N. Main St.

In Bailey, collections will take place from 1 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 18, 20 and 21 at the White Oak Hill Free Will Baptist Church at 3967 W Hornes Church Road. Additional drop-off times at this location are from 6 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 19, 10 a.m. to noon on Nov. 22, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 23, 4 to 6 p.m. on Nov. 24 and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 25.

For additional drop-off locations, visit the drop-off locator online at samaritanspurse.org/occ.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 704-583-1463 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. People 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.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with local churches worldwide, to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 168 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.