Volunteers pack gifts for world's needy kids

IRVINE, Calif. This year, nearly 600,000 gifts will be wrapped and sent around the world.

Volunteers were up early on Tuesday to sort and fill shoeboxes with things that have been donated.

Carissa Gonzales said she's been volunteering with Operation Christmas Child for eight years.

"I love packing shoeboxes because it brings joy to a child overseas who may not have anything," she said.

Oksana Nelson, who was also volunteering on Tuesday, said she was a shoebox recipient when she was a Russian orphan. From all the things she got in her box, she said the toothbrush and toothpaste were her favorite.

"So simple, and we hardly ever think about using it every single day, but we had to share the toothbrush and the toothpaste in my orphanage with all the other orphans in the building, and it was just disgusting," she said.

Nelson added that she ate nearly half the bottle of toothpaste "just because it tasted so good, and I wasn't used to that."

Nelson was adopted by an American family, and she had the opportunity to go to Panama and deliver some of the filled shoeboxes firsthand.

"They're so poor, and to give them something as simple as a shoebox gift was amazing," she said.

Volunteers will be collecting donations all week. For more information, visit http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/occ/.

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