Operation Christmas Child project under way
BY BILL SHERMAN World Religion Writer
Saturday, November 17, 2012
11/17/12 at 5:53 AM
More than 25,000 shoe boxes containing gifts for needy children are being collected in Tulsa this week as part of Franklin Graham's Operation Christmas Child project.
Worldwide, 500,000 volunteers will assemble and distribute 9 million boxes this Christmas season, bringing the number of boxes collected since 1993 to more than 100 million.
Nalia Leatherland, 14, has worked on the project every year since she was 5 years old, she said Tuesday as she prepared boxes for shipping at the Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma collection center at 7302 E. 38th St.
"I like doing it. It's really cool to see how many lives it impacts," she said.
The boxes contain school supplies, toiletries, hard candy, small garments like socks, toys and other gifts.
They are labeled for boys or girls in three age groups: 2-4, 5-9 and 10-14.
Graham's Samaritan's Purse humanitarian organization and its partners will hand-deliver the packages to children in more than 100 countries on six continents, sometimes by camel or yak.
Doreen Lyle, collection center coordinator, said the goal this year is to ship 25,175 boxes out of Tulsa. Last year, 23,400 boxes were collected here.
"We have individuals and families that bring one box. We have churches and organizations," she said.
Karol Stevenson, area coordinator of the Nov. 12-19 drive, said shoe boxes are unloaded at the center, labeled and packed into larger boxes for shipping to Denver, where each one will be inspected before going to third-world countries.
Shoe box gifts are collected in the United States, Canada, Australia, Austria, Finland, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom.
Lyle said individuals or groups can bring boxes to the center through Monday. Center hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday; 1-5 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday.
Boxes also can be taken to several drop-off centers in the Tulsa area and northeastern Oklahoma for delivery to the Tulsa center.
Find gift box guidelines and a full list of drop-off centers and hours at tulsaworld.com/christmaschild
Original Print Headline: International shoebox gift project under way
Bill Sherman 918-581-8398
Volunteers check, sort and pack shoe box gifts as part of Operation Christmas Child at the Tulsa Collection Center on Wednesday. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World