As Thanksgiving Day approaches, many families are already thinking about Christmas. For those who are including Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts as part of their holiday, more than 4,000 drop-off sites are now open.

Shoebox gifts prepared by generous donors and filled with toys, hygiene items and school supplies may be dropped off now during National Collection Week, Nov. 16-23.

Local drop-off sites include Black Walnut Baptist Church in Alton and Childrey Baptist Church in Nathalie. A full list of drop off sites can be online at https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/.

Signs at each location will identify the curbside drop off. Individuals and families making plans to visit a drop-off location can learn more about what to expect in this year’s curbside drop-off experience on the organization’s Important COVID-19 Updates webpage.

Operation Christmas Child has been collecting and delivering shoebox gifts to children worldwide for more than two decades. This is a project everyone can still be part of, even with COVID-19 restrictions.

There’s still time for individuals, families and groups to transform empty shoeboxes into fun gifts. The project partners with local churches across the globe to deliver these tangible expressions of God’s love to children in need. Find a step-by-step guide on the How to Pack a Shoebox webpage.

“This season, children around the world need a tangible reminder that there is hope and that God loves them,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “Through these shoebox gifts packed with special items, children also receive the opportunity to hear about the eternal hope found in Jesus Christ.”

Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, seeks to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 178 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.