LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse.
Volunteers drop off shoeboxes filled with gifts for children in need. It's a national collection effort that local residents are taking part in.
One-by-one, vehicles pulled up to the Operation Christmas drop-off site on Wednesday.
"Operation Christmas Child was started about 20 years ago and it's just a simple gift, taking the gospel around the world," said drop-off center coordinator, George Heard.
Donors bring shoeboxes filled with Christmas gifts.
On Wednesday, Doice Whitehead dropped off over 150, saying his church contributes every year.
"We just feel it's an honor and a blessing from the Lord to be able to do it," said Whitehead.
The boxes are then shipped to over 150 countries.
"They take it to places that are undeveloped countries, where they've had disasters, where children don't have much," explained Heard.
And it also takes teamwork to pack the boxes. Who would be better for the job than the Hamilton Christian Academy Cheerleaders?
Sarah Miller, one of the cheerleaders who volunteered on Wednesday said, "It makes me feel really good because we all get so much and kids in other countries don't ever get as much as we do, so it's really to give back to them what we have."
Shoeboxes are separated by gender and range from ages 2-14.
Heard said just about anything can be included in the boxes like, "Toiletry items, things as simple as toothbrushes, combs, toothpaste, small toys."
So far, organizers say they've collected over 9,500 boxes and each one goes to a child in need.
And thanks to technology, donors can track their shoeboxes to see which country it goes to.
"My wife Claire and I have done that and we've received letters from recipients of the shoeboxes and it's very special to hear from the children that receive these shoeboxes," said Heard.
Collection ends Monday at 5 p.m.
Additional collection center information:
The Dwelling Place
1800 E College Street
Lake Charles, LA 70607
Thursday, Nov. 21: 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 22: 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 23: 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 24: 2 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Monday, Nov 25: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Additional collection sites are located in DeQuincy, DeRidder, Kinder and Sulphur. To find the nearest drop-off site, call 1-800-567-8580 or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ.