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The Lynch Church of God is again serving as a dropoff site for Operation Christmas Child.

Local churches serving as drop-off points

The Lynch Church of God will once again serve as a Shoebox Drop-off Center for Operation Christmas Child during National Collection Week on Nov. 13-20. This year marks the church’s 10-year anniversary of service as a drop off center, and the congregation was recently honored with a plaque from Samaritan’s Purse.

Operation Christmas Child is an international ministry of Samaritan’s Purse in which individuals and groups pack shoeboxes full of small toys, hygiene items, and school supplies for children in impoverished countries. The Lynch group recently packed 500 boxes at their annual packing party.

“In the 16 years that we have been participating, our shoeboxes have been all over the world, from Madagascar to Siberia to the Philippines,” said Carlton Hughes, children’s pastor and Drop-off Center director. “We may not be able to personally travel that far, but we can pack boxes and watch how God uses them to spread His message of hope and love around the globe.”

Don Chavis is the pastor of Lynch Church of God.

Local residents will collect shoebox gifts filled with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items. The Samaritan’s Purse project will deliver these gifts to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine. The Kentucky River Area Team volunteers have a goal of collecting more than 6,500 gifts during the week.

Harlan residents are not alone in their effort to help children around the world. More than 150,000 volunteers including families, churches and other groups are joining forces to contribute to the largest Christmas project of its kind. In 2017, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach 12 million children, with 6,500 coming from the Kentucky River Area Team Area Team.

The church’s fellowship hall will be open during the following hours to accept gift-filled boxes from individuals and groups: Nov. 13-18, 5 to 8 p.m.; Nov. 19, 1 to 5 p.m. ; and Nov. 20, 9 to 11 a.m.

Verda First Baptist Church is also serving as a drop off site: Hours include: Nov. 13, 14, 16 and 17, 4 to 7 p.m.; Nov. 15, 5 to 7 p.m.; Nov. 17, 10 a.m. to noon and 4 to 8 p.m.; Nov. 18, 1 to 6 p.m.; and Nov. 20, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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 samaritanspurse.org/buildonline 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.

For more information, contact the church at 606-848-2600 or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ.