Boxes have been pouring into the hallway at Evangelical Free Church, getting ready to be shipped out to the less fortunate to bring holiday cheer.
The boxes, filled with toys, school supplies and other gifts by local people, are part of the annual Operation Christmas Child effort
As of Wednesday morning, more than 800 donated boxes have been collected.
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Fred and Judie Haynes deliver 44 gift-filled Christmas boxes to Evangelical Free Church in Marshalltown for the Operation Christmas Child effort. The couple brought the boxes collected from First Presbyterian Church of Toledo. The deadline to return boxes to be sent to the less fortunate in different countries is Sunday.
"Our goal was 1,500 so hopefully we'll get there," said Audrey Hartzler, one of the local project coordinators.
The other local project coordinator, Marilyn Willits, said they are expecting plenty of boxes to arrive in the next few days.
"The end of the week is the big push," Willits said.
This year the boxes collected locally will eventually make their way to several countries in Africa and South America and also Malaysia, Haiti and Albania. In many cases, the littlest gifts bring big smiles as these children have little-to-no possessions.
Hartzler said several new churches and other organizations have filled boxes this year, as well as individuals. Among the new places contributing this year are Bickford Cottage and Mid-Iowa Workshops.
"You mention children and people really give for the children," Hartzler said.
Judie Haynes, and her husband Fred, dropped off 44 filled boxes Wednesday from First Presbyterian Church in Toledo, a regular contributor to the cause.
"You gain a lot from it," Judie Haynes said.
The boxes must be returned to Evangelical Free Church in Marshalltown by Sunday. To drop off the boxes visit the church at 3111 S. Sixth St. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Saturday or from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. There is also time to pick up empty boxes to fill. For more information call the church at 641-752-7171.