Operation Christmas Child

The Knoxville community gears up for another successful year of Operation Christmas Child. It's a program that send over 8 million shoe boxes full of gifts to children around the world.

The program started in 1993 and has brought more than 77 million boys and girls simple gifts around the world.

It's a family tradition for Krista and Bryson Maggard. Krista says, "It is a great family project to be able to go together do the shopping together, bring the boxes and drop them off together."

Bryson says he's been doing this project for a long time "Almost as long as I can remember. It's something that runs in the family I guess."

Since he's an expert we asked him for some ideas of what to put in the boxes

"I just found these today! It's a slap arm bracelet and they love stuffed animals. Also, spare socks you never know when you're going to need those."

Krista also lets us in on some ideas of her own, "Simple hygiene items. These kids usually don't have these items so we try to include soap, a wash cloth, toothpaste and toothbrushes

It's a simple way for you to bring smiles to children around the world.

"It's hard to imagine someone never receiving a gift and that's the case with the kids who get these boxes. To see the joy and the surprise as they get their very first gift they; don't even know what to do with it." say Krista, who has traveled to deliver the boxes.

Bryson also realizes why he does this every year, "We know that there's a bunch of countries out there where kids don't have a Christmas and we want to give them that. It might be the only Christmas they have in their lifetime.

Collection week starts November 15th- 22nd. There are plenty of locations where you can drop off your box.

LOCAL COLLECTION SITES:
Knoxville Expo Center
5441 Clinton Highway
Knoxville, TN 37912
(865) 686-3200
Mon: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Tues: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Wed: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Thurs: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Fri: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sat: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun: 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Mon: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Park West Church of God
7635 Middlebrook Pike
Knoxville, TN 37909
(865) 966-5693
Mon: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Tues: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Wed: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Thurs: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Fri: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sat: 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sun: 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Mon: 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Mount Olive Baptist Church
1601 Dandridge Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37915
(865) 524-1601
Mon: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Tues: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Wed: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Thurs: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Fri: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sat: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Sun: 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Mon: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

To get a label and find out more information check out their website: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/Pack_A_Shoe_Box/

Here are some more ideas for gifts to include:

TOYS
small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, small Etch A Sketch®, toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries), Slinky®, etc.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES
pens, pencils and sharpener, crayons or markers, stamps and ink pad sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.

HYGIENE ITEMS
toothbrush, toothpaste, mild bar soap (in a plastic bag), comb, washcloth, etc.

OTHER
Hard candy and lollipops (please double bag all candy), mints, gum, T-shirts, socks, ball caps; sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries)

A PERSONAL NOTE
In a separate envelope, you may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. (If you include your name and address, the child may write back.)

DO NOT INCLUDE:
Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans


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