Christmas is a time of giving and the power of a simple gift can be a life-changing experience to the less fortunate children around the world. Diane Perrigo of Chino Valley has been involved with Operation Christmas Child through her church, First Southern Baptist, for the past five years.
"We start in the beginning of the year collecting items to put in the boxes (shoe box size). We put toiletries, school supplies, small toys, candy, socks, caps, soap, toothbrushes etc. and my husband Bob and I always include a card and photo telling them about ourselves," Diane said.
"I feel so blessed trying to help some child. A lot of these children who receive these boxes are in orphanages and have never received a gift before. They are so grateful and happy to get these boxes for Christmas," she added.
Diane and the ladies of her church send all their filled boxes to the processing center in either Denver or California where they will also include a booklet about Jesus in each child's language.
"These boxes are sent all over the world to places like Haiti, Honduras, India, Philippines, and Russia to name a few. Operation Christmas Child has just reached one hundred million boxes delivered around the world," Diane explained.
Diane shared that the Women's Missionary group at her church have empty boxes available all year that people can take and fill or just bring in individual items. The boxes are filled and sent off in November to reach the children by Christmas.
"I am on the Northern Arizona team of Operation Christmas Child, which is a project of Samaritan's Purse and if there is any church or group in Chino Valley area who would like to participate, they can call me at 636-0801," said Diane.
Although Diane has never personally had the privilege of seeing the children open their boxes her daughter has.
"My daughter was in Fiji for a year and was able to see the children actually open their gift boxes. She said all the happy, excited, screaming children with their first gift was so touching and heart warming," Diane said smiling.
"One day I would be thrilled if I could actually be at a distribution and see the looks of delight on the children's faces."