As Thanksgiving Day approaches, Grove area families are expressing their gratitude by giving back. Residents are filling shoeboxes with fun toys, school supplies, and hygiene items to send to children in need around the world. For many of these children, it will be the first gift they have ever received.

During Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week Nov. 18 – 25, local residents will collect shoebox gifts at COS, Church of the Shepherd, in Grove. The Samaritan’s Purse project, partnering with churches worldwide, will deliver these gifts to children in need. The North East Oklahoma Area Team volunteers hope to collect more than 12,000 gifts during the week. Eleven drop-off locations throughout North East Oklahoma, including: Grove, Miami, Pryor, Claremore, Nowata, Bartlesville, Ponca City, Pawnee, Cleveland, Skiatook and the central drop-off at Owasso are anticipating many shoebox gifts this year.

”It’s amazing to see the local community rally together for a global impact,” said Grove volunteer KC Whitney. “We see all ages getting involved – and more and more every year.”

Grove area residents are not alone in their effort to help children around the world. More than 150,000 U.S. volunteers including families, churches, and other groups are coming together to contribute to the largest Christmas project of its kind. In 2019, Samaritan’s Purse hopes to collect enough Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts to reach 11million children, with hundreds coming from the Grove area.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call (816) 622-8316. 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.

About Church of the Shepherd

COS is located at 1600 W 13th in Grove. Hours of operation for drop-offs are as follows:

Monday, Nov. 18, 12-2 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 19, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 5–7 p.m.

Thursday, Nov 21. 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Friday, Nov 22. 2-4 p.m.

Saturday, Nov 23. 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Sunday, Nov 24. 12-2 p.m.

Monday, Nov 25. 9-11 a.m.

About Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is 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 168million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.