While fall brings focus to football and pumpkins, many C of O students have already set their sights on Christmas by joining Samaritan’s Purse with its annual Operation Christmas Child (OCC) project. This year the organization hopes to distribute its 100 millionth gift-filled shoebox in more than 100 countries.

College of the Ozarks is preparing for the annual Operation Christmas Child party, where the students will wrap and send out hundreds of boxes to children in need. “It’s a really great way to let a kid know that you do care about them even though you are thousands of miles away,” said sophomore Anna Renyer.

Shoe boxes are wrapped and filled with simple items most people take for granted, including toothpaste, toys and school supplies. OCC then hand delivers the shoeboxes to hurting children around the world suffering from poverty, disease, war and natural disaster. For many of these children, the simple shoe box will be the first gift they have ever received.

Anyone can participate in Operation Christmas Child this season. Samaritan’s Purse will collect gift-filled shoe boxes at more than 2,700 drop-off sites in all 50 states during National Collection Week, Nov 12–19.

For many years College of the Ozarks has participated in Operation Christmas Child. “As a relay station for our area, we are looking forward to this year being the best ever in community participation and hope others will join us,” said LeNeve OCC Relay Coordinator at C of O.

The College of the Ozarks Christian Ministries Office is the designated OCC Relay Center in this area. Please bring your shoe boxes to the Williams Memorial Chapel parking lot on the C of O campus from November 12-19, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday and 8 a.m. to noon on Monday.

For more information on packing an OCC shoebox please visit http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/ or call the C of O Christian Ministries office at 417-690-3446.

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