I am writing to thank Fountain Hills residents for sharing the true meaning of Christmas with children in need this holiday season. The generosity of Fountain Hills and the local Scottsdale/Fountain Hills Area Team enabled us to collect 10,470 shoebox gifts for Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief organization, Samaritan’s Purse.

Through shoeboxes — packed with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items — Fountain Hills volunteers brought smiles to the faces of children around the world affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine. Each gift-filled shoebox is a tangible expression of God’s love, and it is often the first gift these children have ever received. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 167 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

It’s not too late for people to make a difference. Though the Fountain Hills drop-off location is closed until November 2019, anyone can still be a part of this life-changing project by conveniently packing a personalized shoebox gift online at samaritanspurse.org/buildonline. Participants can also challenge others to pack boxes online with them or use a shoebox gift card to share the opportunity with friends and family.

Information about year-round volunteer opportunities can also be found on the website or by calling 303-745-9179.

Thank you again to everyone who participated in this global project, many who do so year after year. These simple gifts, packed with love, send a message to children worldwide that they are loved and not forgotten.