An Operation Christmas Child Countdown event to National Collection Week will be held at the First Southern Baptist Church of Dodge City on Sunday, Sept. 16, at 3 p.m.

At this event, the public will hear from Gatlin Clawson, a high school senior from Meade, that went to the Philippines in July to help distribute gift-filled shoeboxes with Operation Christmas Child.

Free supplies (preprinted shoeboxes, labels, flyers, etc.) will also be distributed that will equip individual volunteers, churches and groups to pack shoebox gifts for this upcoming season.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham.

The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 157 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

Operation Christmas Child national goal this year is 11 million boxes with more than 17,000 of those shoebox gifts being packed in southwest Kansas and the Oklahoma Panhandle.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 620-482-3305, or visit Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through "Follow Your Box" and receive a tracking label to discover its destination.

Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.