111717 RUN Operation Christmas Child taking donations through Monday

LACONIA — The Samaritan's Purse project Operation Christmas Child collects shoebox gifts – filled with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items – and delivers them to children in need around the world to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way. For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, has collected and delivered more than 146 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 160 countries and territories. In 2017, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 12 million children in countries like Peru, the Phillippines, Rwanda and Ukraine. Nearly 11.5 million shoebox gifts were collected worldwide in 2016, with more than 9.1 million collected in the U.S.

Evangelical Baptist Church is the central drop-off and collection center for shoeboxes in all the surrounding areas, including northern New Hampshire Collection week runs through Monday, Nov. 20, at the community gymnasium on Fairmont Street, 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, and 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The church is at 50 Washington St. and the gym is located across the street on the corner of Washington and Fairmont streets.

For more information, see Samaritanspurse.org/occ.