Operation Christmas Child calls on locals to donate through Nov. 25

Volunteers at the House of Prayer in Salamanca hold up shoebox gifts donated for this year’s Operation Christmas Child project. The drop-off site is accepting donations through Nov. 25.

This holiday season, sites in Cattaraugus County will be among 5,000 U.S. drop-off locations collecting shoebox gifts for children overseas during Operation Christmas Child's National Collection Week, Nov. 18-25.

New this year, the House of Prayer at 122 Highland Ave., Salamanca will be a drop-off site.

Local families, churches and groups are busy transforming empty shoeboxes into gift boxes filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items. The Samaritan's Purse project partners with local churches across the globe to deliver these tangible expressions of God’s love to children in need. For many children, it will be the first gift they have ever received.

“It will be wonderful to see the community rally together this year,” said Felicia Williams, drop-off site leader in Salamanca.

Drop-off hours at the House of Prayer will be noon to 2 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. through Nov. 24 and 9:30-11:30 a.m. Nov. 25.

Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select gifts matched to a child's specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, email Williams at williamswonderworks@gmail.com or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ.