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Selma Baptist Association assists in making sure children get presents

Christmas in the United States is a commercialized holiday. Many children expect to find the latest toys and gadgets under their trees when they wake up on December 25.

But, millions of children outside of the country will be lucky to receive anything at all.

Thanks to a growing international effort known as Operation Christmas Child, these children can now experience the same joy and surprise Americans do at home by receiving Christmas presents.

For years, the Selma Baptist Association has been part of the Operation Christmas Child effort and they want many more people in the community of all denominations – Catholic, Baptist, Muslim, whatever – to be a part of it this year.

The process is simple, says Kitty Singley, who coordinates the effort for Dallas County. Take a shoebox and decorate it with wrapping paper (not required, but it makes the box look pretty) and fill the inside with a variety of gifts.

These gifts can include small toys such as cars, dolls, stuffed animals and battery-operated gadgets; school supplies; hygiene items and other gifts such as batteries, candy, watches, etc.

People are also encouraged to enclose a note to the child the box will eventually get to and a photo of yourself or your family.

You can also include your address so the child can write you back.

Items that are not permissible include used items, any war-related items, perishables, liquids, breakables or medicine.

Also, include $5 or more to cover shipping and other costs. If writing a check, it should be made payable to Samaritan’s Purse.

Singley said that last year, 1,831 shoeboxes were collected in Dallas County and surrounding areas.

They were then taken to Montgomery where from there, they went to Atlanta to join more than five million other boxes.

After that, they went to countries all over the world.

This year, Singley said, she wants to get even more boxes.

Some of the children from other countries have written back to people in Dallas County, she added.

Operation Christmas Child was started under Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, in 1993. Since then, more than 18 million children have received Christmas presents thanks to this project.

In Selma, for anyone who wants to participate in Operation Christmas Child, shoeboxes with gifts need to be turned into the Selma Baptist Association office from Monday until Nov. 22. The times to turn them in are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday evening from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

For more information on Operation Christmas Child, people can contact Kitty Singley at 874-7056.