Heartland people donate gifts for needy children

Heartland people donate gifts for needy children
By: Ryan Tate
MILLERSVILLE, Mo. - More than ten-thousand shoe boxes of toys, toiletries, and gifts are headed from Southeast Missouri to Minnesota, as part of "Operation Christmas Child."

For some area churches and organizations, this is the ninth year groups have donated shoe boxes of gifts to the cause. "In the first year we collected only 28 boxes," Area Coordinator Birdie Casebolt said. "This year, we hope to collect 10,000."

The items go towards needy children in more than 90 countries around the world.  Collection areas in Sikeston, Poplar Bluff and Millersville gathered the boxes for shipment to Minnesota. "We collected about one-thousand boxes last year," Vickie McCann in Poplar Bluff said. "This year, we collected more than two-thousand."

"It's fun going shopping. It puts a smile on their faces to fill the shoe boxes," Casebolt said. Groups like the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, area schools and nursing homes also donated to "Operation Christmas Child."

According to the parent organization, more than 46 million children have been touched by the program.