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Christmas in a shoe box

How much love can you fit in one shoe box?

Quite a lot, confesses local resident Tracy Wall.

She is a volunteer for the project Operation Christmas Child, that ships shoeboxes full of gifts to needy children in countries like Africa, Afghanistan, Croatia.

The project is a perfect event for the holiday season, Wall said.

Kids can go to any store around and fill a box full of treats, and then drop it off to be shipped.

“The whole purpose is to reach children that will most likely never receive a gift in their life,” she noted.

And, children get a chance to give rather than just receive this holiday season.

“This project empowers them by allowing them an opportunity to have a positive impact by personally helping a needy boy or girl.”

Each child who participates can decide what age group they want to reach, from two to 14 years old. Most kids choose their own age and sex.

They can fill their box with anything from small toys to school supplies to hygiene items and hard candy.

Many children include $5 for shipping and personal note and picture.

Wall’s 10-year-old child Jack has been doing the project with her for the last few years.

“Even our four-year-old son, he just said ‘we have to help these kids,’ ” Wall said.

“When they go shopping for their shoebox child they ask, ‘Do you think they will like this?’” Wall noticed. They are very sincere about it.

“I think the thing that appeals to both of them is that its very personal,” Wall said.

Operation Christmas Child is a national project started by the Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse. Last year, in Kitap County, volunteers collected over 2,300 boxes, and Wall is hoping for even more this year.

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