Operation Christmas Child uses shoeboxes to make a big impact

NORTH OLMSTEAD, Ohio - Holiday cheer - and presents - can come in all shapes and sizes. In Northeast Ohio, one of those shapes is a shoebox.

Shoe boxes are helping children around the world get basic necessities for the holiday season.

One couple from North Olmsted helped expand Operation Christmas Child in the Greater Cleveland area. Ann Palmer said she worked with children with disabilities locally, so when she went to the Philippines to deliver the shoe boxes, she met a child who she noticed was not being properly taught.

Palmer said the boy's teacher told her, “He has a problem, but we don't know what it is.”

Palmer ended up giving the child more than just a shoe box. She guided his teacher on the best ways to teach children with disabilities.

“How to give that child help like I did, and that's what she's been doing since then, and he's having some success,” said Ann Palmer, Operation Christmas Child Chairperson.

Her husband, Charles Palmer, told News 5 that his mission trips broke his heart, because some of the children could not get the shoe boxes. He pointed to a picture of a child in need, peeking into one of the Operation Christmas Child events.

“He wasn’t invited. He was just peering in to see what was going on, but we just need so many more shoe boxes, because our impact is great, but it could be better,” said Charles Palmer, Operation Christmas Child Chairperson.

When you help out at Operation Christmas Child, you decide whether you want to pack a shoebox for a boy or a girl. Then, you can select the age range and fill the box with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and a prayer note.

Last year, more than 34,000 boxes were donated to Operation Christmas Child in Northeast Ohio. You can drop off your shoe box filled with presents between November 13th and 20th. The drop off times vary from church to church. 

More than 400 churches in the Greater Cleveland area are participating, including the North Olmstead Evangelical Friend Church and Brunswick Reformed Church

To find a church near you that is collecting shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, click here.

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