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Ijamsville church members work to fulfill children In the Frederick area this week, shoeboxes are being rescued from the recesses of back closets, garages, and basements. And instead of Nike and Keds, the boxes are being filled with toys, Tic Tacs and toothbrushes. They end up on other continents in the hands of children 2 to 14 years old as part of Operation Christmas Child, a drive run by Samaritan Purse, an international relief organization that allows nike elite local churches, including many in the Frederick area, to reach beyond their borders. On Sunday morning, the Petty family of New Market sprawled out on the Monocacy Valley Church gym floor Dan and Kim directing sons Michael, 8, and Alex, 6, in the construction of a green and red box they were putting together, origami, Michael said. The church gym was full of stations: wrapping, note writing, photos, then long tables set up for assembling a boy or girl box. Laundry baskets and plastic containers laden with toys, soaps, crayons and socks lined the tables. The family chose to pack a box for a boy in the 5 to 9 year old category. we do a 7 year old boy because it between us? Michael asked his mom. Dan Petty said he and his wife like to choose a boy around the same age as their children. way they invest in the process, he said of his sons. The family shuffled over to the boy packing station, Alex on his tip toes strained into the toy box, pulling out a small white box. a slinky, Kim Petty said, as he looked to her for approval. The boys lingered over the container, selecting different toys, getting more enthusiastic over stocking up their box with what they viewed as essentials. Toys are covered, Dan Petty said, shepherding the boys towards the school supplies and combs. The boys later topped off the box with a pack of Lifesavers, then headed to the note writing table to write a message to the box recipient. Alex penning frend and Michael wishing the child a Merry Christmas, saying you have a great time with the toys, while across the table a little girl deliberated over the sticker choice for her note. The family then got in a line where they posed with the box against the wall for a photo, which would be included with the box. Nancy Moorman, co director of the children ministry and Operation Christmas Child at the church with Patsy Helmick, said the church did about 100 boxes last year. They estimated they had around 150 shoeboxes piled in the corner of the gym this year, both collected from church members, but also some official boxes from the organization. She said the boxes would be taken to the local distribution center after a staff meeting Thursday. The church had been collecting items for weeks. Each family was asked to bring in things based on their last name. their last name started with then they brought in a toy, Helmick said. One member who works in a dental office donated toothpaste. good because we have a lot of candy too, laughed Moorman. The church followed their packages last year through the organization, with half going to Madagascar and half c-walk shoes nike going to Russia. Since 1993, approximately 77 million kids in 130 different countries have received a shoebox from the program, full of school supplies, according to a promotional film made by Samaritan Purse. The Christian organization played the video for the congregation during Sunday church service. The organization plans to send a record amount of boxes to Haiti this year in the wake of the earthquake. Moorman and Helmick said the drive was chaotic, but important. think it is fun to do as a church family, Helmick said. Church members Richard and Betsy Allen chose to compile a boy and girl box for the 10 to 14 year old age range. go for the younger kids, explained Betsy Allen as she leaned over the girls table. She said she chose the older kids who might not be as easy to shop for. Richard Allen said for the older kids hygiene stuff is important, and just a washcloth and soap can be a big deal to a child. And even though they didn know where the two boxes will eventually end up, there is a possibility it will go to a child with little access to clean water. stuff they drinking, you wouldn want to bathe your dog in, Richard nike shoes store Allen said. Pastor Mark Vander Meer called the boxes are a act of worship. some families gathered around their boxes at the end of the packing party, some lingered over notes, while two boys engaged in a sword fight in a corner with empty wrapping paper tubes. Vander Meer gathered in the families in a circle to pray over the boxes.