Local church a drop-off site for international Christmas project

Churches in outlying communities – as well as one in Jacksonville – are joining efforts as part of a nation-wide project to bring Christmas to kids across the globe through “Operation Christmas Child.”

Central Baptist Church, 1909 E. Rusk St. in Jacksonville, is the local drop-off site for the program, and will be accepting items from Nov. 18 to Nov. 25 that will be placed into empty shoeboxes and sent abroad.

The public is invited to donate toys, school supplies and hygiene items during that period, which will then be sent to Samaritan's Purse project partners at churches across the globe, which will “deliver these tangible expressions of God's love to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine,” according to a release from Samaritan's Purse. “For many of these children, it will be the first gift they have ever received.”

The Jacksonville church will be creating the special boxes between 4 and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as from 9 to 11 a.m. and 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 25.

This year, Jacksonville-area residents hope to collect close to 16,000 gifts to contribute to the 2019 global goal of reaching 11 million children, the release stated.

“I love seeing the local community rally together for a global impact," said regional program director Matt McClelland. "We see all ages getting involved – and more and more every year.”

Other nearby locations outside Cherokee County include the Evangelistic Temple of Palestine, 3011 N. Loop 256, and One Hope, 1700 S. Palestine St. in Athens.

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