‘Operation Christmas Child’ prepares to launch

Volunteers ready donated shoeboxes for shipment to children across the globe as part of Samaritan’s Purse’s annual Operation Christmas Child gift drive.

Photo courtesy of KNLB Christian Radio

Volunteers ready donated shoeboxes for shipment to children across the globe as part of Samaritan’s Purse’s annual Operation Christmas Child gift drive.

LAKE HAVASU CITY – A Lake Havasu City radio station will next month launch its largest Christmas charity project, which each year receives thousands of donations from good Samaritans throughout Mohave County.

Havasu’s KNLB Christian Radio network will collect shoeboxes filled with toys or school supplies, letters of support and well-wishing, to be sent to children across the globe. Last year, nearly 7,000 Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes were collected in the areas of Kingman, Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City, and organizer Faron Eckelbarger hopes to see as many donations next month.

“There are a lot of little things our children might take for granted that little boys and girls in other countries might not have,” Eckelbarger said. “Hotwheel cars, dolls, pencils, notepads, erasers…a lot of things that we don’t think much of can make a huge difference for these kids.”

Eckelbarger encourages parents and their children in Havasu to pack such shoeboxes together. “It’s a way to model the spirit of giving,” Eckelbarger said. “It’s a great life lesson for children.”

The radio station has had a hand in Operation Christmas Child for about 15 years, and according to Eckelbarger, the donation-drive has had a big impact.

“Any charity program that makes a difference in peoples’ lives is a positive thing,” Eckelbarger said. “Operation Christmas Child reaches children in very difficult situations, in very desolate areas. This program stands out, and it brings hope. It shares with children that there are people who love and care about them.”

Each year, churches, clubs and charitable organizations throughout the U.S. publicize the event, and contribute to Operation Christmas Child. Havasu’s KNLB Christian Radio Network will continue to promote the event.

According to Operation Christmas Child sponsor Samaritan’s Purse, donation is simple. Givers can start with an empty shoebox, and fill it with gender-specific gifts – stuffed toys, inflatable balls (preferably with an air pump), hygiene items or school supplies. Donors can order a $9 tracking label to track heir shoebox gift to its donation, and deliver that box to KNLB Radio at 510 N. Acoma Blvd, or drop-off locations throughout Mohave County.

Donors are asked not to send candy, toothpaste, used or damaged items or war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures. Seeds, chocolate, food, liquids, lotions, medications, vitamins, breakable items or aerosol cans also should be avoided due to customs regulations.

The radio station will accept drop-offs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 13 through Nov. 17. Weekend hours will be 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday and Nov. 18; 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19. Last-minute donations will be accepted Monday, Nov. 20 from 8 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

For more information about appropriate (or legal) gifts or obtaining tracking labels, visit www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child, or call KNLB at (928) 855-9110.