Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest project of its kind, has collected and delivered more than 178 million shoeboxes full of gift to children in more than 160 countries.
The Samaritan’s Purse project collects shoeboxes filled with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items for children in desperate need. For many of the children, it’s the first gift they have ever received.
In 2020, Operation Christmas Child hopes to reach another 11 million children in countries such as Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda and Ukraine.
More than 10.5 million shoeboxes of gifts were collected worldwide in 2019, with 8.9 million collected just in the U.S.
The Big Island collected 8,707 of those shoeboxes. All islands in Hawaii participate to send aloha to those who might never have had a bar of soap, washcloth or a toy or needed school supplies.
For additional gift suggestions and information about how to pack a shoebox, visit samaritanspurse.org/occ or contact Nell Quay, the East Hawaii area coordinator, at 987-7373.
Dropoffs for East Hawaii in 2020 will be accepted from Nov. 16-23 at the following sites:
• 3-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday at Hilo Missionary Church, 1044 Komohana St.
• 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m-4 p.m. Saturday at Big Island Toyota, 811 Kanoelehua Ave. in Hilo.
• 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Monday at Puna Covenant Church, 16-647 Old Volcano Road in Pahoa.
• 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon-2 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday at First Assembly of God, 28-1104 Old Mamalahoa Highway in Pepeekeo.
Shoeboxes for packing are available for pick up at Big Island Toyota.