The West Jefferson First Baptist Church will serve as a relay center for this year’s Operation Christmas Child fundraiser.
Operation Christmas Child, an event put together by Boone-based Samaritan’s Purse, sends shoeboxes filled with supplies to children living in impoverished nations.
“The shoeboxes are sent all over the world and we don’t know where our particular shoeboxes from this area will end up,” said Laura McClure, organizer for the Ashe County drive. “Samaritan’s Purse will focus on different countries and regions each year.”
Items traditionally put in the shoe boxes include hygiene items, clothing, toys, art supplies and hard candy.
“The boxes are shipped out year-round from processing centers like the one in Boone,” McClure said.
Representatives from Operation Christmas Child were at Smoky Mountain Barbecue in West Jefferson on Tuesday, Nov. 12 to raise awareness and give out shoeboxes for customers to fill.
Last year, the local restaurant helped out by acting as a drop-off location for people to leave their boxes.
McClure said boxes will be collected during National Collection Week, which occurs from Monday, Nov. 18 until Monday, Nov. 25.
Volunteers will be needed to help sort out the boxes and prepare them for shipment.
This will be the second year that West Jefferson First Baptist Church will be the collection center for Ashe County. McClure said Operation Christmas Child has gone on in the county for several years.
Collection hours for the fundraiser will vary each day, meaning those interested in donation should call ahead for collection times.
“We will have different hours each day, every day of that full week,” McClure said.
For more information on collection hours or how to volunteer, go to: samaritanspurse.org/ or call West Jefferson First Baptist Church at (336) 846-5141.