Thanks to the generosity of our neighbors in New Providence, many children around the world have something to smile about. Operation Christmas Child, the world's largest Christmas project, collected 4,860 gift-filled shoe boxes from local residents during last year's collection season. These gifts from right here in our community are now on their way to hurting children around the world.With the donations of shoe box gifts from churches, individuals, businesses, and community groups, Operation Christmas Child will be able to hand deliver over 7.6 million gifts to children in more than 100 countries. Many of these distributions are taking place right now. On behalf of our community, I would like to thank all the local collection sites for providing locations for collecting the gifts and all the volunteers who served with this amazing project for children.

To everyone in the New Providence area who packed a shoe box gift, please be encouraged by the fact that these simple gifts will serve as powerful messages of joy and hope to needy children around the world. Thank you for joining our community in this amazing outreach, and for giving to others at Christmas.

Though the New Providence drop-off locations are closed until November 2008, it is not too late to send gifts to children overseas. Gifts are received year-round at Samaritan's Purse, 801 Bamboo Road, Boone, N.C., 28607. For information on packing a shoe box, go online to www.samaritanspurse.org or call 1-800-353-5949.

Thanks again to everyone who participated in the project. We look forward to seeing you next year!

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