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Operation Christmas Child

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Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Local church to be central drop-off location for Southeast New Mexico

By Christina Stock

Vision Editor

The annual Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child has a new challenge in the midst of election coverage and a worldwide pandemic. For more than 20 years, the colorful boxes have been sent worldwide to children to give them hope and joy for Christmas. Some of these children are in war zones, others in drought ridden countries or in parts of the world where poverty and illness reigns.

This year, the National Collection Week takes place from Nov. 16 to 23 and Grace Community Church, under the guidance of volunteer Patsy Hamilton, is the central drop-off location for Southeast New Mexico.

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In a phone interview, Hamilton said that there are new regulations for the boxes, that are limited to the size of a shoebox. “It’s important, you can’t put in liquids, no toothpaste or hard candy, no glass and no war-related toys, because some of the children live in a war-torn region,” she said.

Hamilton said that she had been to the Samaritan’s Purse Operation processing center and was very impressed. “At the processing center the boxes will be inspected,” she said. “Any toy or item that doesn’t fulfill the criteria will be replaced with a different toy or gift.” Those items that were not supposed to be in the box will find a good use, she said. They will be given to a local charity.

In these tumultuous times, Hamilton is a little concerned, but has hope that the residents will pull through to fill all boxes. She said that she believes that the caring people of our region will help these children. “They have it so much harder in the midst of COVID-19,” she said. “Those who do not want to venture outside, who are stuck at home, may build a box online.”

Hamilton said that the boxes are available at most churches in the region. For those that didn’t get a box, they may contact her as she still has a limited number of boxes available.

“If using a regular box,” Hamilton said, “some may want to wrap it. You can do it, but wrap the bottom and top separately, so it can be opened without ripping the paper to be inspected.”

The public may drop off the boxes at Grace Community Church, 935 W. Mescalero Road, Nov. 16 to 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Nov. 21, drop off is from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Sunday, Nov. 22, after church service, drop off is from 1 to 4 p.m. The last day for the general public to drop off boxes is Nov. 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The boxes will then be taken to Denver to be processed on Tuesday morning. From there they will be shipped to children all over the world, Hamilton said.

For more information, call Hamilton at 575-626-2071. Details and ideas about what to put into the boxes and about Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child may be found at samaritanspurse.org.