Local church spreading holiday cheer around the world


Staff writer

Millions of children around the world don’t get to experience the joy of opening Christmas gifts.

Silverdale United Methodist church members are hoping to change that and bring joy to children around the world.

For the fourth year in a row, the church’s congregation is working with Operation Christmas Child and collecting shoe boxes filled with goodies to mail to underprivileged children.

“Operation Christmas Child is a way to bring love and joy to a needy child and let kids across the world know that someone loves and appreciates them,” said Melanie Lee, Silverdale United Methodist Church’s Operation Christmas Child coordinator.

Operation Christmas Child is sponsored by the international non-profit organization Samaritan’s Purse. Since the project’s inception in 1993, nearly 54 million shoe boxes filled with gifts have been delivered to needy children.

Lee said those interested may collect goodies to fill a shoe box and drop them off at Silverdale United Methodist Church at designated times now through Nov. 18. Lee will deliver the shoe boxes to St. Charles Church in Poulsbo, the area’s collection site, Monday, Nov. 19.

“It’s an outward reminder of how much we have and how little those children have,” Lee said. “For many, it’s the only gift they’ll receive.”

Silverdale United Methodist Church collected about 150 shoe boxes last year and Lee said they hope to collect more this year.

“Not only is it fun, but it’s a real way to bless the families,” she said.

Lee said toys such as small cars, stuffed animals, balls and harmonicas are great items to send to a needy child. School supplies, hygiene items, hard candy, jewelry and T-shirts also are helpful to the children receiving the packages.

“The stuffed animal or the little doll is a favorite thing because the child can cuddle with that,” Lee said. “The variety of toys just brings joy to these children and opens up the whole world to them.”

Any war-related items, perishable or breakable items and medicines and liquids should not be included in the boxes.

People sending shoe boxes need to fill their boxes for specific age groups: boys or girls 2-4 years old, 5-8 years or 10-14 years old. A form indicating the age and sex of the child is available online at, from the Operation Christmas Child brochure found at many local businesses or at the collection center where shoe boxes are deposited. Shoe boxes must be labeled by the age and sex of the desired recipient.

Each box needs $7 for shipping. Boxes do not have to be wrapped and people can use a shoe box-sized, six-quart plastic container to mail their gifts.

For more information about Operation Christmas Child, visit the Samaritan’s Purse Web site at

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