Operation Christmas Child seeks community donations

Arlene and Warren Walburg display the boxes they will collect and pack Nov. 18-25.

Arlene and Warren Walburg display the boxes they will collect and pack Nov. 18-25. Photos by Urmila Ramakrishnan

A local effort for Operation Christmas Child wants to send 5,300 shoe boxes filled with gifts, toiletries and school supplies to children in need. New Hope Community Church will host a collection week at 2 Enterprise Ave., Suite A3 from Nov. 18-25. There will also be a packing party to stuff boxes Nov. 23 at the same location.

This is the ninth year that church parishioners Warren Walburg, 75, and his wife Arlene Walburg, 74, have spearheaded the operation in the community. Their first year, they collected 1,200 boxes, and the local chapter grew six percent from 2011-2012 with predictions of further expansion.

Operation Christmas Child is part of a global missions effort from the nonprofit Samaritan’s Purse International Relief. Last year, the organization collected 8.7 million shoe boxes that went to 130 countries. Donators are advised not to include liquids or chocolate in their boxes; a list of suggested items to include can be found at http://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child.

This year’s Isanti County donations will go to India, Libya and Madagascar.

“Everybody loves kids, especially during the holiday time,” Arlene Walburg said. “Almost without exception, (the boxes go to) kids that never got a gift before.”

The typical box has a coloring book, crayons, a stuffed animal, hygiene products, a note from the donator, school supplies and other items.

The typical box has a coloring book, crayons, a stuffed animal, hygiene products, a note from the donator, school supplies and other items. 

To volunteer or find more information about collection sites, contact Operation Christmas Child at 612-359-7025 or New Hope Community Church at 763-552-7979.

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