Suffolk gives 10,000 shoeboxes

Published 10:54 pm Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas shoeboxes: Children anxiously anticipate the distribution of shoeboxes in their village last year. Suffolk residents donated more than 10,000 shoeboxes this year to be shipped to needy children in more than 100 foreign countries.

Suffolk-area residents gave by the thousands for Operation Christmas Child this year.

More than 10,400 shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and other gifts were dropped off at churches around Suffolk in November for Operation Christmas Child. The gift-filled shoeboxes are now being shipped to needy children around the world.

However, those who missed National Collection Week can still give through a new feature on the project’s website. The “Build A Box” tool allows donors to personalize their own shoeboxes from a list of pre-selected items, offering a convenient way to send gifts to even more children.

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“One more shoebox means one more child — one more life that can have hope and joy this Christmas,” said Leigh Fisher, regional director for Operation Christmas Child in the Mid-Atlantic region. “The power of a simple shoebox gift is incredible.”

Virginians as a whole gave more than 187,500 shoeboxes, a 5-percent increase from last year.

The “Build A Box” process is simple: At, donors select a child’s age and gender; shop through an online selection of toys, necessity items, and school supplies; and finish it off with a personalized note of encouragement. Each “Build A Box” gift costs only $35. The gift boxes will be assembled by volunteers at Operation Christmas Child’s processing center in Charlotte, N.C. Through tracking technology, donors can “follow the box” to find out where it will be delivered.

“In just minutes, you can highly customize your gifts to bring hope to a child in a desperate situation,” said Jim Harrelson, vice president of Operation Christmas Child. “This process is unlike anything we’ve ever done, and it will allow even more children to receive gift-filled shoe boxes. We want each of these children to know the true meaning of Christmas.”

Operation Christmas Child — the world’s largest Christmas project — is part of the international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has hand-delivered more than 77 million gift-filled shoeboxes to needy children in more than 130 countries.

For more information on Operation Christmas Child, call 410-442-3701 or visit