Operation Christmas Child sends gifts to third world countriesSubmitted: 11/19/2019
Exchanging presents helps some people get into the holiday spirit.

Samaritan's Purse aims to make sure every child can experience opening a new gift on Christmas day. Volunteers for Operation Christmas Child at Pine Grove Community Church pack shoe boxes with items and then send them to third world countries.

Amy Cottrell and her family have been packing boxes for nearly fifteen years.

"[I fill them with] hygiene products, toys, school supplies, but the biggest opportunity is each box takes a gospel opportunity to a child whose never heard the name of Jesus," said Cottrell.

The boxes arrive in more than 11 countries via plane, train, boat, or camel. Cottrell says people in our area have expressed how happy they are that they no longer have to drive three hours to the nearest central drop off location. 

"I think it's a neat opportunity for Rhinelander just to have this happening, you, know," said Cottrell. "This is an exciting event."

Volunteer Ethan Parsons says donations like this send a few messages to the children. 

"I think doing this is important because this gives the children a chance to learn about God and see that people care for them when they open that box," said Parsons.

Volunteer Emma Cottrell sees the importance of giving to others during the holiday season. 

"To give children who maybe never received a gift that experience of having someone that cares about them and actually wants to give them a gift," said Cottrell.

There were more than 250 boxes donated within one hour. Cottrell enjoys knowing that her hard work will make an impact on children across the world. 

"Seeing all of these boxes, just be delivered and seeing all of them," said Cottrell. "All these people packing boxes for these children and putting so much love and care, it's really amazing to see."

Samaritan's Purse has donated boxes to more than 168 million boys and girls. Donations are being accepted at the Pine Grove Community Church until Monday.

Story By: Maya Reese

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