WAXAHACHIE — This month, several locations in the multi-county Ellis County Texas 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, Waxahachie 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 Ellis County Texas hopes to contribute more than 6,024 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 Matt McClelland. "Through these simple gifts and a message of hope, children learn that God loves them and has not forgotten them.”

Local collection sites include Eastridge Baptist Church in Red Oak, Tabernacle Baptist in Ennis, Farley Street Baptist Church in Waxahachie, and One Way Church in Midlothian.

Hours subject to change. A full list of area collection locations can be found online.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child or to view gift suggestions, call 817-595-2230 or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through "Follow Your Box" and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select gifts matched to a child's specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.