SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - The national collection week comes to a close for the annual Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child project.
It's the shoebox campaign that's been going on for weeks now at the region's churches and other groups. The shoeboxes will be sent to national processing centers and then to all over the world.
Trucks are being loaded with large boxes filled with shoe boxes that have been coming in to Liberty Baptist Church over the past week.
The church has been the Tri-Cities hub for this worldwide project for 12 years now. "These boxes come from all over Bristol and the Tri-Cities. They come from the racetrack, which is a collection center, and people in the area bring these shoeboxes to us. We pack them in cartons and send them on the way," says David Warren, the network collection coordinator.
And the shoes boxes aren't just going across town, they are going all over the world. "All over the world. It's hard to imagine a tiny shoe box traveling halfway around the world to places like India, Madagascar, places in the continent of Africa, eastern Europe," Warren said.
The boxes are packed with small toys, school supplies, hygiene items, non-perishable candy anything appropriate for a child. Some even contain a note from the giver.
With a cost of seven dollars to help with shipping you can now track your shoebox. "They have it now so that you can go online and print out your label when you buy your box or pay for your box and you can track it all the way to its destination. It's really neat technology," Warren says.
It's a simple idea that began in 1993 and following this year's delivery, Operation Christmas Child should deliver 100 million shoe boxes worldwide.
"The primary reason we do it is to reach children with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the second reason is to let them know in some tangible way somebody they don't even know loves them and cares for them," Warren said.
Just a simple gift with love and hope to millions of children all over the world.