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Clackamas Valley Baptist Church participates inSamaritan's Purse program Operation Christmas Child

COURTESY OF SAMARITANS PURSE. - A child in Paraguay opens a package from Samaritans Purse, a Christian relief and evangelism organization.

When Clackamas Valley Baptist Church first began participating in Operation Christmas Child, the closest place drop off site for donations was three hours away in Yelm, Wash.

Now, along with being able to bring items to Clackamas Valley Baptist Church, those interested in helping underprivileged children in developing countries can also bring them to locations in Sandy and Gresham.

"It's a blessing," said Karen Armstrong, a member of Clackamas Valley Baptist Church, discussing the program's growth in the area. "Our goal is to keep reaching more and more children."

Operation Christmas Child is organized by Samaritan's Purse, a Christian relief and evangelism organization. Since the program's inception in 1993, it's become the largest project of its kind. Volunteers across the world help collect, ship and distribute shoeboxes with toys, hygiene items, school supplies and information about the story of Jesus to children in more than 150 countries and territories.

COURTESY OF SAMARITANS PURSE. - Young  Fiji residents open shoeboxes from Operation Christmas Child.

Once the donations have been gathered at local sites, like the one at Clackamas Valley Baptist Church, volunteers with Samaritan's Purse

from around the world route the shoeboxes to children in need.

Last year, Clackamas Valley Baptist Church assembled 925 shoeboxes. This year's goal is 1,000.

Items always needed include toys, school supplies and non-liquid hygiene products, like toothpaste and bar soap. The church also is happy to accept already-filled shoeboxes.

Those who wish to donate items can do so from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday, Nov. 18-21; from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22; 1-3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 23-24, and from 9-11 a.m., Monday, Nov. 25, at the church, 29275 S.E. Eagle Creek Road.

"The important part is that the boxes go to foreign countries that need them," Armstrong said. "We've watched the videos they send of the kids receiving the boxes, and they're all smiles and excitement. I've heard directly from a few kids who received boxes that I packed, and that's heartwarming."


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