Volunteers filling shoe boxes for the holidays, to be sent around the world

As the holidays draw nearer, volunteers are busy filling shoe boxes with necessities many of us take for granted. These boxes will be sent around the world, to children in need. It's all a part of "Operation Christmas Child," and volunteers are hoping to stuff 30,000 shoe boxes in southeastern Wisconsin alone.

The boxes are stuffed with things like toothbrushes, washcloths, toys, and even a hand-written letter. The volunteers are working through Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization that provides spiritual and physical aid to victims of war, poverty, natural disaster and disease. From the drop-off sites, the boxes will be sent to India and Zambia, which are just two of the areas the organization hopes to help.

"Many of these people are in hopeless situations, especially in the refugee camps and orphanages, and many times they have never received a gift in their entire life, and this represents something really special to them," Samaritan Purse Area Coordinator Jim Fiste said.

In many cases, even the shoebox containing the gifts, becomes part of the gift!

"I've seen pictures of ladies with those shoe boxes filled with water. They use them to carry water and actually balance them on their head. They say that every shoebox will touch 10 lives," Fiste said.

The organization will collect shoe boxes through next Monday. Volunteers can drop off gift-filled boxes at Cedar Creek Community Church in Grafton, Probucolls Bookstore in Milwaukee, Divine Redeemer Lutheran Church in Hartland, and Wooded Hills Bible Church in Colgate.