Shoe box Savvy Shopper; Local Resident Shops Year-Round for Operation Christmas Child Gifts

Colorado Springs resident Lori Itson heard about Operation Christmas Child (OCC) in her church in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1999. Lori found out that OCC is a simple, fun project whereby individuals, families, scout troops, businesses and churches fill shoe boxes with small gifts. The gifts are then dropped off at one of many locations in the area, and sent to children in hurting situations around the world. Lori began enthusiastically shopping for Operation Christmas Child, and has been ever since.

Prior to 1999, Lori was a missionary in the Philippines, working in an orphanage. She has always been a savvy shopper; acquiring items to help the homeless, gifts to be shipped to the Philippines, and now shoe box gifts! She hits the dollar bins at Target, uses Hobby Lobby coupons, hits after-holiday sale mark-downs. She tries to have a balance of items in her boxes but always includes clothes and toys. Since she is a dental assistant, she also always has to put in a toothbrush and toothpaste, of course! Lori looks for simple items we take for granted; a pencil sharpener or crayons....on sale in the summer during back-to-school sales. She is involved with Operation Christmas Child at Calvary Worship Center, on the Westside.

Lori is also lovingly finishing her friend Dotty Peters' boxes for her. Dotty was in a car accident last February, and, sadly, passed away in April. Prior to her accident, Lori and Dotty had already started planning their shoe box strategy. Dotty had given Lori money to use with her super-shopping skills, and she had already collected quite a few bags of goodies. Lori is doing six boxes in memory of Dotty, and imagines her smiling down from heaven.

Lori is also doing boxes for Colorado Springs friend Sara Pfaff, who is overseas working as a teacher in Abu Dubai. Sara provides the money and Lori does the shopping. Sara also has a heart to help others. She loves kids, and is showing that not only by teaching, but by touching kids with her shoe box gifts, via Lori.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, (SP) headed up by Franklin Graham. Colorado Springs has been blessed by Samaritan's Purse's relief efforts here after both fires, and SP is now working in Northern Colorado assisting residents there to recover from the flooding. OCC, as Lori and so many others have found out, is a simple, yet powerful way to bless unfortunate kids. If you would like to participate, please check out www.samaritanspurse.org/occ for more information and your nearest drop-off location. National Collection Week is November 18 – 25, 2013.

On Saturday, October 26, from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., Mardel Christian Store on Barnes Road will be hosting an Operation Christmas Child event along with the KTLF Radio gang.  The public is invited to come meet the OCC Area Team, pick up a shoe box and fill it at Mardel or take one for later!  The Chick Fil A cow and friends will also be on hand for the afternoon!

Also, on Saturday, November 9, from 1 – 3:30 pm, Calvary Worship Center on 501 Castle Road, 80904 is hosting an Operation Christmas Child Community Packing Party. Please come join in the fun of packing shoe box gifts. Participants are being asked to bring shoe box contents; new small toys, school supplies, hygiene items and hard candy. Donations to cover the $7/box shipping cost will also be greatly appreciated. A fun, family-friendly, all-age activity!

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