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      Help give 9M needy kids a reason to be thankful this holiday season

      Donate gifts for needy kids during National Collection Week (Nov. 12-19).

      With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Toledo families, businesses, schools and churches are putting their gratitude in action and celebrating their blessings by giving back. Through Operation Christmas Child, locals are joining tens of thousands of people across the U.S. to fill empty shoe boxes with toys, school supplies and necessity items for impoverished children around the world.

      In 2012, Operation Christmas Child expects to reach a milestone??collecting and delivering shoe boxes to more than 100 million children since the project began in 1993. Toledo-area residents hope to contribute over 500 shoe box gifts to this year??s global collection goal of 9 million gift-filled shoe boxes in order to help surpass the 100 million milestone.

      This year-round project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan's Purse, headed by Franklin Graham, is ramping up as local businesses, churches and community groups prepare to collect gift-filled shoe boxes during National Collection Week (Nov. 12-19).Anyone can drop off a packed shoe box at the Toledo-area collection sites (address and hours below). Then, using whatever means necessary??trucks, trains, boats, bikes and even elephants??the shoe box gifts will be hand-delivered to hurting children in 100 countries around the world.

      Toledo COLLECTION SITES:

      Pilgrim Church 1375 W Sylvania Avenue Toledo, OH 43612 (800) 353-5949 Mon - Nov 12: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tues - Nov 13: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Wed - Nov 14: 3 p.m. - 6 p.m. Thur - Nov 15: 3 p.m. - 6 p.m. Fri - Nov 16: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Sat - Nov 17: 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Sun - Nov 18: 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. Mon: 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.Pat Bollinger is the collection site coordinator and can also help provide you with interview possibilities. You can reach the volunteer at (419) 478-6012.

      Holland Free Methodist Church 6605 Angola Road Holland, OH 43528 (800) 353-5949 Mon - Nov 12: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Tues - Nov 13: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Wed - Nov 14: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Thur - Nov 15: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Fri - Nov 16: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Sat - Nov 17: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Sun - Nov 18: 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. Mon: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.Rachel Simpson is the collection site coordinator and can also help provide you with interview possibilities. You can reach the volunteer at (419) 865-4640.

      CedarCreek Church 29129 Lime City Road Perrysburg, OH 43551 (800) 353-5949 Mon - Nov 12: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Tues - Nov 13: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Wed - Nov 14: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Thur - Nov 15: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Fri - Nov 16: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Sat - Nov 17: 5 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Sun - Nov 18: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Mon: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.John Miller is the collection site coordinator and can also help provide you with interview possibilities. You can reach the volunteer at (419) 661-8661.

      Waterville United Methodist Church 102 N 5th Street Waterville, OH 43566 (800) 353-5949 Mon - Nov 12: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Tues - Nov 13: 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. Wed - Nov 14: 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. Thur - Nov 15: 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. Fri - Nov 16: 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Sat - Nov 17: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Sun - Nov 18: 2 p.m. - 5 p.m. Mon - Nov 19: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.Anne Stevens is the collection site coordinator and can also help provide you with interview possibilities. You can reach the volunteer at (419) 878-3645.

      Operation Christmas Child uses tracking technology to allow participants to ??follow?? their box to the destination country where it will be given to a child in need. To register shoe box gifts and find out the destination country, use the ??Follow Your Box?? donation form found at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ. For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ. National Collection Week for gift-filled shoe boxes is Nov. 12-19; however, shoe box gifts are collected all year at the Samaritan??s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C.