Hermiston Cub Scout Pack 645 is gearing up to help ensure needy children across the globe receive toys, school supplies, hygiene items and other gifts during the holiday season.
The local Scouts are collecting shoeboxes filled with gifts for Operation Christmas Child. The project is an outreach ministry of the international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse. Last year, the local Scout pack contributed 50 boxes and is aiming to donate 60 this holiday season.
Many other individuals, groups and local businesses participate in the annual project. In 2016, the total number of boxes collected from Umatilla and Morrow counties was approximately 1,700, said Barb Wattenburger, drop-off team leader in the Hermiston area. Anyone can join the effort to help spread Christmas cheer.
In the Hermiston area, New Hope Community Church serves as a drop-off location for shoebox gift donations. People can take donations to the church at 1350 S. Highway 395. Enter through the east entrance:
•11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Monday, Nov. 13 through Saturday, Nov. 18; and Monday, Nov. 20
•5-7 p.m. — Tuesday, Nov. 14; and Thursday, Nov. 16
•Noon to 2 p.m. — Sunday, Nov. 19
The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world. Since 1993, the project has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 146 million children in more than 160 countries and territories. This year’s goal is to send gifts to 12 million children worldwide.
Due to customs regulations, some items can’t be sent. Gift suggestions are available on the organization’s website. In addition, people who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse the site to select gifts to create a virtual gift box. Also, they may add a photo or personal note of encouragement to the recipient.
To help offset shipping costs, participants are asked to donate $9 per shoebox gift. They will receive a tracking label, enabling them to learn the destination of their package.
For more information, including guidelines for shoebox gifts and an option to virtually “Build a Box,” visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ. For questions, call 541-626-3159.