Giving multiplied with school supplies for children overseas

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2023

SALISBURY — As the school year approaches, shoebox packers for Operation Christmas Child are making use of back-to-school prices to purchase gifts and essential items for children in need around the world. 

Salisbury residents are collecting school supplies, personal care items, and fun toys to pack in shoeboxes. Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, will deliver these gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 100 countries.

 Access to these simple items is essential to an education for many children. That was the case for Justin Thomas, a shoebox recipient in Southeast Asia whose parents could not afford the supplies needed for school. 

Thomas remembers the day he received a gift-filled shoebox from Operation Christmas Child and found it filled with toys and, most exciting to him — school supplies.

Growing up with hand-me-down clothes and used items, Thomas used to write with a pencil so short that he held it using a pen cap. Having an entire packet of new pencils and a pencil sharpener all his own was a treasure to him. This simple gift made a life-changing impact on Thomas because it opened the doors for him to receive an education.

National Collection Week is Nov. 13-20. Participants can donate $10 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.