Building Blocks Montessori donates 126 shoebox gifts

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Building Blocks Montessori School of Wilson put the finishing touches on 126 gift-filled shoeboxes for the Operation Christmas Child project at a school packing party Wednesday evening.

The shoeboxes are filled with toys, school supplies and personal hygiene items and will be delivered to children in need around the world.

Teacher Amanda Webb has spearheaded the project for Building Blocks Montessori, packing 12 boxes in 2011 and 102 boxes last year. Participation has grown from Webb’s kindergarten class to include all infants and kindergarten classes and school families.

Children bring in items all year and practice their counting, citizenship, and even write personal letters to include in the boxes. For the past two years, representatives from the Eastern North Carolina team have visited Building Blocks Montessori with guest speakers who actually received boxes when they were children. Dania Yadago shared a video and her story with classes this year.

Subjected to severe poverty, Yadago and her family lived in three Middle Eastern countries while she was growing up. Yadago’s family prayed for everything they needed. One year they began praying specifically for a radio. That year, Yadago received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift. As Yadago and her family carefully went through each item in the gift, they shrieked in disbelief as they pulled out a fully functional radio.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism group led by Franklin Graham. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 146 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child or to view gift suggestions, visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.