THE annual Operation Christmas Child project is gathering pace with 48 boxes packed by a youth church group last weekend.
Each year shoeboxes full of gifts are distributed to around 300,000 children in need across the world.
Last year the Orange community donated over 600 boxes, with this year’s target set at 700.
Operation Christmas Child Orange co-ordinator Robyn Hicks said 25 children from Blayney and Millthorpe church groups helped pack shoeboxes in preparation for this year’s project.
“Some of these children have never had a gift like this and parents just don’t have the money for gifts,” she said.
Mrs Hicks said in the past boxes had been distributed to children who had suffered through wars, natural disasters or are in need.
Boxes have also been distributed to children in Queensland following the wide-spread 2011 floods.
For the 2012 project shoeboxes will be distributed to Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Vanuatu.
Mrs Hicks has asked the Orange community to get behind this year’s Operation Christmas Child and donate items for boxes or whole boxes for children in need.
For more information visit http://operationchristmaschild.org.au/ or call Robyn Hicks on 0427 653 431 or Jenny Abbott on 6362 4226.
How to pack a shoebox for the 2012 Operation Christmas Child:
1. Find an empty shoe box, you can wrap if you like.
2. Decide whether your gift will be for a boy or girl and choose an age category - two to four years, five to nine years or 10 to 14 years. Attach the appropriate boy/girl label on top of your box and mark the correct age category.
3. Fill your shoebox with a variety of gifts such as toys, necessity items, clothes, school supplies and optionally a personal note to the child and family photo. Do not include war-related items including toy guys, soldiers, knife etc, perishable items or liquids.
4. Enclose $9 or more in an envelope to help cover shipping and other costs. Place the envelope so it is clearly visible on top of the gifts.
5. Drop off shoeboxes at the Christian Ministry Centre, Cecil Road, Orange by October 20.