The nonprofit organization Samaritan’s Purse collected over 800 packages in Laurel filled with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and notes of encouragement for needy children in other countries during its Operation Christmas Child National Collection Week, according to a news release.
First Baptist Church of Laurel served as a collection site for the effort.
Operation Christmas Child is a project where individuals, families and groups pack empty shoe boxes with gifts for needy children, which are then delivered to more than 100 countries around the world.
“Each gift is unique and lets a child, who is often facing war, poverty and disease, know that they are loved and not forgotten,” Samaritan’s Purse spokesperson Ashley Wilkes said in an email. “A simple gift can have a lasting effect.”
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected more than 100 million shoebox gifts, according to the release, and hopes to mail another 9.8 gift-filled shoeboxes in 2013.