Shoebox Heaven

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 12, 2006

Operation Christmas Child collection begins today

By Cassandra Mickens

The Selma Times-Journal

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Kitty Singley makes it her mission to remember the less fortunate during the holidays. And she’s asking all of Selma and Dallas County to join her this week by donating gift-filled shoeboxes to disadvantaged children across the globe.

Singley, a Selma resident, is the relay center coordinator of Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse.

An international Christian relief and evangelism organization, Samaritan’s Purse “provides spiritual and physical aid to victims of war, poverty, natural disaster and disease.” Operation Christmas Child’s mission is to “bring joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoeboxes and the Good News of God’s love,” according to the Web site

A relay station to collect the shoeboxes is now set up at the Selma Baptist Association, 2193 Broad St., next door to One Way Book Store. Singley said church groups, school groups, families and individuals have participated in Operation Christmas Child for the last twelve years as part of National Collection Week, which begins today and ends Nov. 20.

Collection times are from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. today through Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon Friday and Saturday. The relay center will open again on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. to catch the work crowd, Singley said.

“Last year 2,018 boxes were packed in cartons at the Baptist Association office in Selma and transported to the collection center in Montgomery where they were loaded on large 18-wheel trucks and delivered to Atlanta, Ga. to be processed for delivery to ninety-five countries around the world,” Singley said.

More than 7.6 million shoeboxes were collected worldwide last year. In addition to the shoebox gifts, children are given Gospel booklets in their own language. Singley said the gifts give children a sense of security.

“These children are in such locations where they’re in war and things like a stuffed teddy serve as a security blanket for them.”

Donators are asked to find an empty medium-size shoebox, wrap it in Christmas paper and fill the box with the following suggested gifts:

A cuddly, stuffed animal toy

A toothbrush, toothpaste

A wrapped bar of soap and flannel

A notepad, coloring book

Picture books

Pencils and pencil sharpener, pens and paper

A set of crayons or felt pens

A hat, cap, gloves scarf

A small ball or tennis ball

A puzzle e.g. small jigsaw

For boys: a toy car, truck, passenger plane or similar item

For girls: jewelry (e.g. pair of clip earrings, make-up or hair accessories)

A greetings card of a photo of yourself

Sweets (must be at least March of next year sell-by-date

Small musical instrument

The following items are not suggested as gifts:

No chocolate due to customs regulations in some receiving countries

Other edible items (e.g. crisps, biscuits, tinned food or cake)

War related items (e.g. toy guns and soldiers, knives)

Clothing (other than listed above)

Glass containers, mirrors or fragile items

Liquids of any type (e.g. blow bubbles, shampoos, bubble bath, toiletry sets or aerosols)

Marbles or sharp objects

Anything of a political, racial or religious nature



For more information call (334) 872-1640.