Times are tough for many people in Minot after this summer's flood, but Chris Torgeson hopes some families will still fill shoeboxes for this year's Operation Christmas Child effort.
The charity, run by Samaritan's Purse, delivers shoeboxes filled with toys and more useful items to children in impoverished areas all over the world.
Last year Minot area residents filled 2,300 of the shoeboxes.
Andrea Johnson/MDN - - Chris Torgeson shows off boxes that have been donated for Operation Christmas Child.
"I'd love to see it hit that 2,000 mark this year," said Torgeson, the director of education and family ministry at Zion Lutheran Church in Minot.
The Samaritan's Purse organization was in Minot for several weeks this summer helping with flood cleanup and assistance to flood victims. Torgeson said filling even one shoebox would be a way to give back to the organization that has given so much to Minot.
Shoeboxes can be picked up at Zion Lutheran and must be returned by Nov. 18, said Torgeson.
Torgeson said it's easy to fill a shoebox with inexpensive items from dollar stores or local department stores.
Suggestions include school supplies like pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons or markers, stamps and ink pad sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books; toys like small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, small Etch-A-Sketch, toys that light up or make noise, Slinky; hygiene items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, mild bar soap in a plastic bag, comb and washcloth.
People should not include used or damaged items, war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food, out-of-date candy, liquids or lotions, medications or vitamins, breakable items such as snowglobes or glass containers or aerosol cans.
People can also fill plastic shoeboxes instead of the cardboard shoeboxes supplied by Operation Christmas Child. A plastic container can be used by kids for other things, like storing personal items or carrying water.
People can fill a box for a boy or girl between the ages of 2 and 4; 5 and 9 or 10 and 14.
If possible, people should include a $7 donation for shipping costs in the box. Boxes should be loosely secured with a rubber band.
The boxes from this region will be sent to children in Zambia and India, said Torgeson. Torgeson said a letter from a pastor in Zambia said church attendance increased after kids there received boxes in 2009.
The boxes are distributed to any child who comes to a shoebox party in the village and they are not obligated to attend church, but the children are given an opportunity to participate in a discipleship program and receive a Bible in their own language.
Some people who received shoeboxes as children grew up to work for Operation Christmas Child. Torgeson said some of the kids walk for miles to get to an Operation Christmas Child party and opening a shoebox is a very big deal for kids, many of whom are very poor.
For more information, call Zion Lutheran Church at 852-1872.