Every year scores of shoeboxes from our area, filled with items for poor children, are sent to Boone, N.C. for processing to be sent overseas. This year, Parkview Baptist Church filled 202 shoeboxes.

"For a small church, this was a great accomplishment," said Carolyn Gray, missions director.

Operation Christmas Child is celebrating 20 years of delivering over 100 million shoeboxes to boys and girls in over 130 countries. These children have experienced God’s love through the power of simple shoebox gifts.

Operation Christmas Child provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple, hands-on project that focuses on the true meaning of Christmas — Jesus Christ, God’s greatest gift. This is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization that provides spiritual and physical aid to hurting children around the world: victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease and famine.

Each shoebox can be filled with hygiene items, school supplies, toys, and candy and is given to children all over the world regardless of gender, race, religion, or age. They are given to children based on need, regardless of their background or religious beliefs. It’s an unconditional gift of love.

"If you or your church or organization would be interested in filling shoeboxes for next year, contact me at 479-206-9090," Gray said.