It is at last the week many have been waiting for! The time to drop off your shoeboxes full of Christmas gifts to those who live in other countries. 

The Northeast Mississippi area will host a prayer walk at the Ballard Park this Saturday, November 16, 1-5 p.m. and then collection will begin on Monday, November 18.

West Heights will be a drop off point this year thanks to the ladies who have stepped up to make that happen. You may drop off shoe boxes Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. until noon. Saturday, you may drop off from 9 a.m. until noon. 

Sunday’s hours are different from years past so please take note! Also note that this is Christmas Open House Sunday. The hours of operation will be from 12 noon until 3 p.m. So if you are bringing boxes on Sunday, you don’t have to wait until 2 like in years past, you can bring them immediately from your church services.

Ecru Baptist Church will also be a drop off point with mostly night time hours for you to carry your boxes.

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday the hours are 4-6 p.m. Wednesday the hours are 9-11 a.m.; Friday the hours are 5-7 p.m.; Saturday you may come between 8 am.-noon and Sunday 2-4 p.m. 

If you have never participated in Operation Christmas child shoebox gifts here is how you can begin. Get a shoe box from your closet, or you can purchase a heavy plastic shoe box sized box from the dollar store. There are a limited number of pre-printed cardboard shoe boxes available at the Pontotoc Progress.

You choose the age group of boy or girl that you want to pack for which includes ages 2-4; 5-9; and 10-14.

The boxes are packed with a variety of things.  First and foremost please pack school supplies and hygiene items. These are things we take for granted here in America, but are desperately needed in places like Africa.

School supplies such as pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, notebooks, paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.

Hygiene items such as toothbrushes, bar soap, combs, washcloths can be packed.

Toys that children will immediately embrace such as dolls, toy cars, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls,  glow in the dark stars, balloons and other simple toys that children enjoy.

For older children there are  sewing kits, hammer and nails, soccer ball with pump and jewelry.

Other accessories such as t-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries) also can go into the box.

PLEASE NOTE, no soldiers or war related items such as knives or guns are allowed and no candy or toothpaste is allowed.

Anyone packing a box is also encouraged to include a note with a photograph. 

Once you pack the box, please ask for a label when you drop it off and mark it for the age group you have packed for, or you can write it on the top of the box with a permanent marker. Put a rubber band around your box to keep it shut. Please do not tape it because it will be opened and prayed over and processed further in Atlanta.

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