MORGANTOWN — Thousands of red and green boxes are making their way to CMA Church of Morgantown this week.
It’s National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child, or as Operation Christmas Child Area Coordinator Ronda Dalton describes it, “our Super Bowl.”
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 157 million gift-filled boxes to children in 160-plus countries and territories.
The philanthropy is a mission of Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization.
Dalton, who oversees collections in Monongalia, Marion and Preston counties, is one of nine area coordinators in West Virginia.
She said that for many of the children on the receiving end, the box represents the first gift they’ve ever been given.
“A lot of these kids have nothing. Something as simple as a tooth brush or school supplies, even the box itself is considered a treasure for them,” Dalton said.
While CMA Church, located at 308 Elmhurst Street, is where all area boxes ultimately end up before heading off to a Charlotte, NC processing center, it’s just one of six drop-off sites in the three-county area.
In Monongalia County, boxes can also be dropped off at Chestnut Ridge Church, located at 2223 Cheat Road.
In Marion County, boxes can be dropped at Central United Methodist Church (301 Fairmont Avenue, Fairmont) and First Baptist Church (110 Clarksburg Street, Mannington).
In Preston County, Otterbein United Methodist Church (334 Morgantown Street, Kingwood) and First United Methodist Church (331 East State Avenue, Terra Alta) are collecting boxes.
Additional information, including drop-off hours, can be found online at samaritanspurse.org.
Dalton previously said she hoped to send 14,000 boxes from Monongalia, Marion and Preston counties. In total, the program hopes to reach more than 11 million children this year.