Operation Christmas Child Of Northwest MI Bringing Smiles Overseas

You can brighten up the holidays for a child in need by sending a Christmas gift.

In fact, it may be the first gift that child has ever received.

People in Northern Michigan are taking part in an international project called “Operation Christmas Child.”

The organization has already reached 150 countries since they started 1993 – and helped 146 million kids worldwide.

And they’re not stopping there.

“We are hoping to add another 12 million worldwide 9.6 million from the United States,” said community relations coordinator, Mike O’Connor.

So they can be delivered to these smiling faces across the globe.

“The joy and excitement the kids have on their faces is just priceless you can’t just put any words to it, sometimes it’s the only gift a child has ever received,” said central drop off collection coordinator, Leigh Bump.

Filled to the brim with shoes, hats, small toys, and more.

“The school supplies are a big thing in a lot of countries if you don’t have school supplies you can’t go to school,” said O’Connor.

Even the smallest donation — makes a big difference.

“People can donate a box of things, people can donate an individual item called fillers,” he said.

Once all the boxes are packed up, they’ll be shipped off to 150 different countries around the world.

Operation Christmas Child of Northwest Michigan managed to organize more than 12,000 of these boxes last year.

Hoping to put the lids on at least 13,500 this holiday season.

“It’s not just the only holiday present some of these kids will get — it’s the only present some of these kids will get,” said O’Connor.

A reaction he had to see for himself.

O’Connor traveled overseas to Africa in 2014 — to deliver the boxes and witness the difference they make first hand.

“I‎t gives you a whole different perspective on what you’re doing, the conditions they live in and the conditions of the churches and schools that they go to, i‎t broadens your perspective on things,” said O’Connor.

Donations will be collected through next Monday, November 20.

To find out the dozens of locations of where you can donate, click here.

Categories: Michigan This Morning