Collection sites announced for Christmas project

Published 11:24 pm Friday, November 3, 2017

This month, several locations in the multi-county Rochester area will serve as drop-off sites for the Samaritan’s Purse project, Operation Christmas Child — joining nearly 5,000 U.S. locations collecting gift-filled shoeboxes for children in need around the world, according to a press release.

During the project’s national collection week, Nov. 13-20, local residents will transform empty shoeboxes into gifts of hope filled with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys. Operation Christmas Child will deliver the shoebox gifts to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine.

This year, the Rochester area team hopes to contribute more than 14,082 shoebox gifts toward the 2017 global goal of reaching 12 million children.

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“We are honored to join the nationwide effort to collect gift-filled shoeboxes for children who may have never experienced the true meaning of Christmas,” said Regional Director Nicole Sheldon. “Through these simple gifts and a message of hope, children learn that God loves them and has not forgotten them.”

First Baptist Church, 335 W. Clark St. in Albert Lea, is listed as a drop-off location. Drop-off hours are listed as 1-4 p.m. Nov. 13-17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 18, noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 19 and 10 a.m. to noon Nov. 20.

Hours are subject to change, according to the press release. A full list of area collection locations can be found online.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child or to view gift suggestions, call 612-369-7023 or visit Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.