Even though Christmas is a little more than a month away, shoeboxes filled with items are being asked for.

Even though Christmas is a little more than a month away, shoeboxes filled with items are being asked for.
Local residents have set a goal of 3,130 gift-filled shoe boxes and by end of National Collection Week, every Operation Christmas Child drop-off site hope to be bursting with these gifts of love that bring joy to needy children worldwide. 
Neosho residents are joining Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest Christmas project, to help send shoe box gifts this year to more than 12 million children in 100 countries who are suffering from natural disaster, war, terrorism, disease, famine and poverty. 
Once again, KNEO Radio is a relay station for receiving these shoeboxes. The Daily News caught up with Roberta Foster, with the station, and asked some questions about the event. Collecting of items began on Monday and will run until 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 20 at the station.

NDN: What is main purpose of operation Christmas Child?
Foster: Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, collects shoebox gifts and delivers them to children in need around the world to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way.  When a child receives a shoebox, they receive a booklet in their language called The Greatest gift.  They then have the opportunity to enroll in a discipleship program using “The Greatest Journey”.  Upon completion of the 12-week program, the child receives a graduation certificate and a New Testament in their language. 
 For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received. 

NDN: What are u asking for in the shoeboxes?
Foster: Whether it is an individual, family, group or church, we encourage everyone to bring at least one shoebox.  We want them to use standard sized shoeboxes or the plastic shoeboxes rather than boot boxes.  It’s not about packing the shoebox to overflowing but the number of shoeboxes.  Every shoebox gift allows another child to hear the gospel.
The most important thing that can be put into the shoebox is prayer.  We encourage people to enclose a note to the child to let them know you are praying for them. We encourage individuals to put a note of some sort in each box.  Becky Westhoff from Oak Grove Baptist Church has created their own letter that explains where in the United States the church is located and individuals put their personal touch on the letter. They have received letters back from the shoebox recipient.
Ideas for the shoebox gift include stuffed animals and inflatable soccer balls with air pump are always a hit.  School supplies and hygiene items are important items to include but liquids are not allowed.  Do NOT include any liquids, toothpaste, candy, gum or food, or war toys  For complete instructions and labels, contact KNEO or online at samaritanspurse.org/occ.
         This year OCC is asking that $9 be included for each shoebox for shipping to     more than 100 countries.  It also provides ministry materials such as the Greatest Gift booklet children receive with the shoebox gift and the Ministry Partner          Guide, a tool used to provide local outreach event training and clear gospel         presentations.

NDN: How pleased is KNEO for helping?
Foster: Operation Christmas Child is one of the most exciting events that we are a part of each year. It is thrilling to see people bringing in their shoeboxes and hear stories of their process. It brings each of us at KNEO great joy to be part of the process of sharing the gospel around the world.

NDN: KNEO has been involved with this for 18 years, is there other locations that readers can drop off items?
Foster: KNEO is a central location for people in the area to bring their shoebox gifts, which we hope is convenient for folks.  The Granby Christian Church is also a drop off location for those who live in the eastern part of the county, if they prefer.  The reader can either call for the hours we are open or visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ for the closest drop off location and other information or call 451-5636.

NDN: Anything else, please add.
Foster: Help is needed with packing the shoeboxes into the cartons and loading them onto the moving truck.  If you have a group or family that wants to be involved in packing the shoeboxes into the cartons, contact Roberta at 417-451-5636.