The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sun-Telegraph 

Gifts That Keep Giving


November 10, 2021 | View PDF

Few things in life match the excitement of a child opening a colorfully-decorated gift box. The ribbons fly as the box is torn open in an exuberant curiosity. For some children, that event is rare. There are children as close as a few houses away and as far away as other continents where the box itself is a gift, and the book, pencils and few items inside are as gold.

Operation Christmas Child, a program through Samaritan's Purse, started in 1993. It began with a request to send shoe boxes filled with gifts to children in war-torn Bosnia. Samaritan's Purse CEO and President Franklin Graham asked a friend to help and within weeks 11,000 boxes had been assembled. Since then, more than 188 million children in more than 170 countries have received a shoe box gift. The shoe box size is favored because of the ease in shipping. In 2020, more than 9.1 million shoe box gifts were collected worldwide, 7.8 million from the U.S. alone. Shoe box gifts are now collected in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Finland, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.

The goal for this year is to give boxes to an additional 9.7 million children.

The gift box content focuses on what many American children would call essentials, not gifts. There are combs and hair ties for girls, socks and and mittens or gloves. Toothpaste is not longer accepted. It is considered a liquid by airline safety standards, and it is not a common practice worldwide.

Shoe boxes are designated according to age group and gender: ages 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14. games, deflated soccer balls and school supplies are encouraged. It is also encouraged to include a photo and a note for the child receiving the box. Each shoe box needs $9 for shipping. Supporters can also go online and for $25 purchase a completed gift box. New this year, labels allow for supporters to track where their gift box was sent.

Each gift box will include a “The Greatest Gift” gospel booklet. Donors are also encouraged to pray for the recipient of their gift box.

Colorful Operation Christmas Child boxes can be picked up from the Evangelical Free Church, 2763 11th Ave. in Sidney during office hours, or call 308-254-6162, or 308-254-3890.


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