Operation Christmas Child kicks off collection
YAKIMA, Wash. - Local churches are collecting shoeboxes filled with toys, hygiene items and school supplies to send to children in other countries for Christmas.
One of the drop off locations is Central Assembly of God on South Third Avenue and lead pastor Gerry Galbreath said the boxes go to kids in need.
"Provides Christmas gifts for boys and girls in third world countries that wouldn't have anything for Christmas without somebody getting involved," he said.
He said shoeboxes can be filled with just about anything you can fit into a shoebox.
"Anything that the children might be able to use that they wouldn't have access too," Galbreath said.
Of course, there are some restrictions, Galbreath said nothing edible, no fireworks, no weapons, even toy guns.
You can use a shoebox you have at home or Operation Christmas Child has boxes you can use to pack your items.
However, it's not free to ship these boxes. Volunteer Janiece Bates said each box costs nine dollars to ship. But if you pay the shipping costs you are able to track which country your box goes too.
Bates is a volunteer at the Christian Life Center drop off location on 40th Avenue and already on the first day of collection she received almost 1,000 boxes.
Baxter Construction donated 408 shoeboxes this afternoon. Tyler Baxter said it's a good feeling to be able to help these kids out.
"We've been sending them to the Philippines and we get letters back every once in a while from people there," he said. "Actually one of the girls got married last year that we sent a box too, so it's pretty cool."
He said they hope to donate 500 shoeboxes next year.
Bates said she has been a part of Operation Christmas Child for more than 20 years and said it's a way for her to do her part.
"I guess someday I hope that I can be there, a part of that delivery of it," she said. "But in the meantime this is our chance to be a part of that mission."
The collection continues through November 20 and you can find drop off locations and hours here.
The Yakima teams hopes to collect more than 7,500 shoeboxes.