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'Christmas child' gifts to be collected

An annual collection of Christmas gifts for children overseas takes place next week in the Northland and far beyond.

Samaritan's Purse, the faith-based nonprofit that coordinates what it calls Operation Christmas Child, said in a news release it has a goal of at least 4,912 gifts from nine sites in the region. That would be up 5 percent from last year, when 4,678 gifts were collected, said Dana Williams, a spokeswoman for Samaritan's Purse.

Small items such as toys, school supplies and hygiene items are collected in a shoebox to comprise one gift.

The campaign is in its 25th year, Williams said. It began in 1993 as an effort to provide gifts to children in war-torn Bosnia.

During its 25 years, Operation Christmas Child has provided gifts to 157 million children, she said.

The organization has a global goal of 11 million shoeboxes this year and 9 million nationally, Williams said. Both would be up slightly from 2017.

This year's collection begins on Monday and continues through Nov. 19.

Collection sites in the Northland include:

  • Mount of Olives Baptist Church, 1500 Swan Lake Road, Duluth
  • Maranatha Academy, 4916 S. State Highway 35, Superior
  • Emmanuel Baptist Church, 93 Midway Drive, Virginia
  • Iron Gate Plaza, 990 W. 41st St., Hibbing
  • Palisade Baptist Church, 5486 Highway 61, Silver Bay

A complete list of collection sites and hours of operation is available online at samaritanspurse.org/occ. Click on "find your drop-off location."