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Volunteers pack gifts for world's needy kids

December 1, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Volunteers are trying to help needy children in foreign countries through a program called, Operation Christmas Child.Children in China, Indonesia, Mongolia and other locations will be receiving wrapped shoe boxes filled with Christmas gifts from Operation Christmas Child, a program that has been sending out gifts to needy children around the world since 1993. This year, over 8 million children will be receiving Christmas gifts.

For most people, it's a box that's filled with shoes, but for millions of children around the world, these rectangular shoe boxes are gifts of hope delivered every Christmas.

The shoe boxes are filled with items such as school supplies, candy, toys, clothes, hygiene items and sometimes a letter from the sender of the gift.

"For some of these kids, it's maybe the first gift they've ever received. So, it's more than just a simple gift. It's showing that someone loves them, and that someone else cares about them," said Joey Turner an Operation Christmas Child volunteer.

Volunteers are hard at work getting those boxes filled, and they've been working since the day after Thanksgiving. Volunteer Livia Satterfield received a gift from the program 10 years ago when she was a 12-year-old orphan in Romania.

"We never celebrated birthdays or Christmas. We never had a gift of our own, and if we ever got gifts, they were always taken away by the workers," described Satterfield.

"The things that I got in the shoe box meant a lot to me because I've always wished to have hair clips. I don't know why. I might have seen them on some other girls, and from that moment on, I wanted to have some of my own," Satterfield recalls

Along with those hair clips, Satterfield got so much more. She was eventually adopted by the woman who gifted her the box.

"It's like I got more than just a shoe box. I got love, I got hope, I got something I have wished for such a long time, and later on, I got a family," she said.

Even with the slow economy, organizers say that donors are still thinking of others this year. More than half a million shoe boxes will be shipped out. It's the largest shipment yet.

"They're in a hundred countries, so they're in a number of different dire situations, and they're in need of hope," said volunteer Karen Dye.

Organizers are always looking for more donations and volunteers. You can fill a box yourself at home and drop it off at the Santa Ana processing center and they'll ship it off.


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