This year, Sunnybrook's goal: to send out 2,000 boxes.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
We often think of Christmas time as a time of giving and a chance to exchange presents with those we care about.
Sometimes, it's those gifts that go outside our immediate family that go the farthest, literally. One Siouxland church has gradually upped its involvement in a decade-long tradition. They're doing it to ensure every child has a holiday to remember.
Volunteers have been busy at Sunnybrook Church for weeks now, taking in packed shoe boxes as part of Operation Christmas Child.
"I imagine in my mind what they go through when they get it," said Jan King, a volunteer.
Worldwide, this is its 20th year. That program is run by Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization. Millions of children in more than 100 countries have received gifts through the program.
"Kids that are in war-torn areas, poverty areas, orphanages, so we had a heart for that right away," said Bainbridge.
Sunnybrook has been helping out for ten years. Three years ago, the church became a relay center for other groups to drop off their donations to the cause. From there, they're brought up to Sioux Falls, S.D., then Minneapolis, Minn.
"It's created a bond between some churches that this is the time of the year where we really do need to come together," said King.
"Anywhere from the little kids, actually going out to pick the items they want to pick the items that they want to put into the box, to the parents going out there and helping them do that to wrapping the boxes," said Bainbridge.
This year, the boxes collected here at the relay center are going to go to 12 different countries across the world. And they'll be delivered by every method you can think of including camel, banana boat and snow mobile.
"Each box is a little miracle in itself, where it goes to exactly the right child," said Bainbridge.
Last year, Sunnybrook collected more than 1,800 boxes filled with toiletries and gifts for kids up to 14 years old. This year, their goal is to send out 2,000 boxes.
"More than likely these children have never received a gift at all, let alone a Christmas gift," said Bainbridge.
"We've seen videos, and the thrill, the squeals that come out of the little girls and the oohs and the ahs, it's well worth it," said King.
If you're interested in donating, there's still time. You can drop off shoe boxes at Sunnybrook until noon on Monday. You can call the office at (712)276-5814.
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