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Samaritan’s Purse pursues Christmas involvement

Each year, elementary students contribute to Operation Christmas Child, a charity organized by Samaritan’s Purse. This year, however, high school joins the younger kids in their pursuit to give to needy children at Christmas time.

The nondenominational evangelical Christian organization was founded by Robert Pierce in 1970. Their goals revolve around Luke 10:30-37, a Biblical passage stating the story of the good samaritan. From this they take gifts to the poor and spread news of salvation to all willing to hear.

Many publications students chose to support the cause. Each person was asked to bring one wrapped box filled with various items, from toys to hard candy to toiletries, to give to a child in need. Most of the destitute children live in third world countries where war and famine are omnipresent.

Jon Endicott, high school principal, values the Operation as a way to include students in a worldwide charity event.

“Any time our students can get involved in any form of service it is a great thing,” Endicott said. “It is great for them to combine together and to be able to appreciate what they have through service.”

As a fundamentally Christian program, Samaritan’s Purse sponsors pray over each box before sending the gifts off to the children. They believe by praying over each package, the gift shall arrive at its proper home through God’s providence, according to their brochure.

Any student can participate in the program. Those wanting to donate must turn in the boxes by Nov. 24 or give them to Brenda Warkentin in the elementry office by Nov. 21.

“Samaritan’s Purse has been a positive experience,” Warkentin said. “The kids get excited to buy things and share. This teaches them to be thankful for what they have, while others are less fortunate.”

Pat Unruh, elementary principal and Samaritan’s Purse activist, records the progress each year.

“Last year the elementary sent out 148 boxes to over 100 different countries around the world,” Unruh said. “This year, with the help of the upperclassmen, we hope to send out even more.”

Along with the toys, participants should consider including a note to the child and a picture of the benefactor. If the sender’s address is also included, the child may write back in pen pal fashion.

Particular rules apply to shoebox packing

1. Use a standard size shoe box or a small plastic container. Wrap the box lid separately.

2. Label the box by gender and age. The ages include: 2-4, 5-9 and 10-14. If obtaining labels is a problem, print them from the Samaritan’s Purse Web site.

3. Fill the box with several different gifts. Gift ideas include:

School supplies, such as pens, pencils, crayons, markers, stamps with ink, writting pads, paper, solar calculator, coloring and picture books;

Toys, like small cars, blass, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, Etch A Sketch, toys which light up or make noise and a Slinky.

Hygiene items like a toothbrush, toothpaste, mild bar of soap, comb and washcloth.

Other items include hard candy, lollipops, mints, gum, T-shirts, socks, ball caps, sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches and flashlights.

Do not include:

Used or damaged items, war-related objects, knives, weapons, military figures, chocolate or food, out-of-date candy, liquids, lotions, medications, vitamins, aerosol cans or breakable items.

Make sure to include extra sets of batteries with items needing them, double bag all candy and put bar soap in a plastic bag.

4. A donation of seven dollars or more is required for shipping puposes and other project costs. Insert money in gender label or give through the EZ Give Web site.

5. Wrap a rubber band around the shoe box after finishing packing.

Gift drop location:

Baseball Greats Sportscards and Supplies, located in Clovis on 442 Pollasky Ave. between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Call (800) 383-4984 for information or to get directions. Contributors may also visit the Calvary Chapel on 3425 E. Shields Ave. to drop off the gifts.

For more information and instructions for participating in Operation Christmas Child, e-mail Brenda Warkentin or call (559) 299-1695, ext. 107.

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