PUBLISHED: 4:16 PM on Wednesday, October 10, 2007
With a shoebox Juneau families can help children around the world
Local children can help needy boys and girls around the world have a merrier holiday season. Sending hope in a shoebox to hurting children worldwide is simple but powerful way to brighten millions of lives in more than 100 countries and that requires the contagious compassion of local Juneau families right now.

Operation Christmas Child, the world's largest Christmas project, is calling on local kids, families, churches, businesses, schools, scout troops and civic organizations to join this massive effort to bring joy to children overseas suffering from disease, famine, war, terrorism and natural disaster, through shoe box gifts.

"It's a great family experience. Packing the shoe box gifts is really fun and easy. We also have the joy of knowing that what we're doing will have a very real positive impact," said Juneau resident Pamela Finney, who with her husband has been packing shoe box gifts for Operation Christmas Child for the past five years.

Recommended gifs are small toys, stuffed animals, t-shirts, baseball caps, balls, dolls, postcards of southeast Alaska, flashlights with extra batteries, school supplies and paper, hard candy, hygiene items like toothbrush and paste, comb and washcloth.

Courtesy photo
  Kate, Emma and Anna of Juneau pack shoeboxes of Christmas gifts for children across the world as part of Operation Christmas Child. For information about the project, go online to .
In southeast Alaska, over 2,500 shoeboxes were filled lat year. Shoeboxes can be dropped off from November 12-19 at Chapel by the Lake. The southeast Alaska coordinator, Justine Emerson, remembers the look on kid's faces when she traveled to Russia to help deliver boxes, "The huge smiles of children who were receiving their first doll or toy car made me aware of how a little can mean so much to others. It's also a way to teach children about the importance of helping others in need."

For details or to download the necessary brochures check out the information at Brochures are also available at Hearthside Books and Udder Culture. Samaritan's Purse national partners will hand-deliver the shoe box gifts to more than 8 million children in some 100 countries.

As a child in war-torn Bosnia, Lejla Allison's life was changed forever by an Operation Christmas Child shoe box-14 years later she's sharing that same gift of hope with other kids in need.

She was among the first group of children to receive gift-filled shoe boxes when Operation Christmas Child was launched in 1993 in Bosnia. She was 11 years-old.

Allison remembers how much hope the colorfully-wrapped shoe box gift with candy, pencils and sneakers gave her. In 2000, Allison married an American who was working with NATO on a peace-keeping mission as a civilian contractor. They were married in her village and lived there for eight months before moving to the United States.

Because she knows first-hand what a blessing a shoe box gift can be to a hurting child, Allison encourages anyone who wants to touch a life to consider packing a box. She plans to pack more than 50 shoe box gifts for needy children this year.

"It is hard to put into words what that box meant to me. It really changed my life," Allison said.