Pack a box of good will |

Pack a box of good will

Randy Wyrick | rwyrick@vaildaily.comVail Christian High School students are among the dozens of groups, organizations and churches collecting gift boxes for Operation Christmas Child. These VCHS students are, from left, Kyra Webb, Kristen Currey, James Currey, Teller Emmer, Austin Ellsworth and Mimi Nary down front. You have until Sunday night to drop off your Operation Christmas Child box. Calvary Chapel is the local collection point.

EDWARDS, Colorado – Christmas is coming, and by Sunday local Operation Christmas Child boxes will be going.

You have until Sunday night to drop your shoebox-sized gift-filled box at Calvary Chapel Vail Valley. It’s on the Vail Christian High School Campus in Edwards. You can’t miss it.

“It’s a worldwide effort,” said Stephen Couch, one of the Calvary Chapel pastors. “These boxes go all over the world to children who would not otherwise have Christmas.”

Like all the wonderful stuff in life, it’s not complicated.

Take an empty shoebox, or some box about that size, and fill it with the kind of stuff your kids want – and a few things they need.

Pack in some toys, personal hygiene items, toys, school supplies, toys, candy, toys … you get the picture.

And try to stick in a $7 donation to cover shipping costs.

Tailor your boxes to a boy or girl and a specific age group. Age groups are 2-4, 5-9 and 10-14. Label it for a boy or girl, label it for the age group and label it plainly. The good folks at Calvary Chapel, who love you and want you to succeed at this, have a dandy tri-fold label for people who can’t figure it out on their own.

Almost every church in the valley is part of it. Civic organizations are on board, Scout troops … the list goes on and on. Some schools are packing boxes.

Calvary Chapel Vail Valley is the local collection point for the valley. Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week is Nov. 15-22.

“We just happen to be the collection hub,” Crouch said. “Lots of churches and organizations are involved.”

Did we mention that Sunday is the last day to drop off your box? And that the church is on the Vail Christian High School campus in Edwards? Did we mention that?

They have are several dozen boxes right now. By the end of the week they’ll have several hundred, Couch said.

They’ll take everything to Denver on Monday to an international distribution center.

From Denver, the boxes are shipped all over the globe.

Last year, more than 8 million children received Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes in more than 130 counties on six continents. They’re anticipating more this year. Colorado alone is expected to generate 675,000 boxes.

Those millions of boxes will be hand delivered to children around the world using whatever means necessary – sea containers, trucks, trains, airplanes, helicopters, boats, elephants and even dog sleds.

You can even follow your box to its final destination. Use the EZ Give donation form found at

Everyone gets into the act. U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush have all packed Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes.

In 1990, Welsh couple Dave and Jill Cooke began Operation Christmas Child after witnessing the harsh conditions faced by children living in overcrowded Romanian orphanages. In less than three months, the Cookes had collected enough items to send a convoy of nine trucks carrying $1 million in aid supplies and thousands of gifts packed inside shoe boxes to bring hope and love to those Romanian children.

In 1993, the Wales-based Operation Christmas Child partnered with international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son. That gave them access to Samaritan’s Purse’s 20 years of expertise in relief work and global reach. Samaritan’s Purse works in more than 100 countries providing aid to victims of war, natural disaster, famine, disease and poverty.

In the United States, Operation Christmas Child began in 1993 with 28,000 shoe box gifts. Since then, these kids helping kids have collected and hand-delivered more than 77 million shoe box gifts to needy children in more than 130 countries.

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