National collection week is coming up for shoe box gift donations to Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan's Purse. Local church, Open Door Church of Christ, at 1200 N. Tucker in Shawnee, is a designated collection site for the gifts; collections will be welcomed between Nov. 18 and Nov. 25 at various hours at the church, as well as sites in the surrounding cities of Prague, Seminole, Chandler, Choctaw and Norman.

National collection week is coming up for shoe box gift donations to Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan's Purse. Local church, Open Door Church of Christ, at 1200 N. Tucker in Shawnee, is a designated collection site for the gifts; collections will be welcomed between Nov. 18 and Nov. 25 at various hours at the church, as well as sites in the surrounding cities of Prague, Seminole, Chandler, Choctaw and Norman.

The local drop-off sites in the Shawnee area are among 5,000 U.S. locations collecting shoe box gifts for children overseas.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham.

According to samaritanspurse.org, the mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

“The Samaritan's Purse project partners with local churches across the globe to deliver these tangible expressions of God's love to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine,” Nicole Vogt, media relations associate with Samaritan's Purse, said. “For many of these children, the gift-filled shoe box is the first gift they have ever received.”

Since 1993 Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 168 million shoe boxes to children in over 160 countries and territories.

In 2018, the ministry collected more than 8.8 million shoe boxes.

She said Shawnee families, churches and groups will have opportunities to transform empty shoe boxes into fun gifts filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items for donation.

“This year, Shawnee-area residents hope to collect more than 35,000 gifts to contribute to the 2019 global goal of reaching 11 million children,” she said.

“I love seeing the local community rally together for a global impact," Regional Director Joe Christian said. "We see all ages getting involved –and more and more every year.”

Although local drop-off locations for gifts are only open during Nov. 18 – 25, anyone can still donate to the project; learn more online at samaritanspurse.org/buildonline.