NISSWA -- Paper Birch Gallery in Nisswa and Lakewood Evangelical Free Church in Baxter will serve as 2004 drop-off sites for Operation Christmas Child.
They will be open to receive shoe box gifts Monday-Nov. 21. Paper Birch Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays. Lakewood Evangelical Free Church will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays. Operation Christmas Child's national collection week for gift-filled shoe boxes is Nov. 15-22.
This will be Paper Birch Gallery and Lakewood Evangelical Free's fourth year as drop-off sites for Operation Christmas Child, a project that encourages children, families, churches and groups to fill empty shoe boxes with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and personal letters, then hand-delivers them to children in need around the world.
Last year, the two sites collected 1,200 gift-filled boxes from Crow Wing County, Cass County and the surrounding areas, and have set a goal of 2,000 shoe box gifts for 2004.
More than 6.6 million gift-filled boxes were collected worldwide last year, and distributed to children living in countries where poverty, terrorism, famine, disaster and disease are a way of life. This year's international goal is to collect and distribute 7 million shoe box gifts.
This year, gift-filled shoe boxes will be sent to children in some 100 countries around the world, including children suffering in the Darfur region of western Sudan, hurricane victims in Grenada, and children who survived the recent terrorist attack in Beslan, Russia.
For more information about the Paper Birch Gallery and Lakewood Evangelical Free's participation in Operation Christmas Child, call 963-4815.
For more information on Operation Christmas Child, or to receive free materials, call 1-800-353-5949 or visit www.samaritanspurse.org.
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