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This month, several locations in Southeast New Mexico will serve as drop-off sites for the Samaritan’s Purse project, Operation Christmas Child — joining nearly 5,000 U.S. locations collecting gift-filled shoeboxes for children in need around the world.

During the project’s National Collection Week Nov. 13-20, Artesia residents will transform empty shoeboxes into gifts of hope filled with school supplies, hygiene items, and fun toys. Operation Christmas Child will deliver these shoebox gifts to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine.

This year, the Southeast New Mexico Area Team hopes to contribute more than 6,550 shoebox gifts toward the 2017 global goal of reaching 12 million children.

“We are honored to join the nationwide effort to collect gift-filled shoeboxes for children who may have never experienced the true meaning of Christmas,” said Regional Director Paul Fischbach. “Through these simple gifts and a message of hope, children learn that God loves them and has not forgotten them.”

Artesians may drop off boxes from 3-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday; from 3-7:30 p.m. today; from 9-11 a.m. Saturday; from 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday; and from 7-9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 20, at Faith Baptist Church, 401 S. 20th St.