I am writing to thank residents for sharing the true meaning of Christmas with children in need this past holiday season.

Because of the generosity of donors in Cape May County and across the U.S., Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan's Purse, collected more than 20,750 shoebox gifts at drop-off locations serving the Southern New Jersey Area Team.

Across the U.S., the project collected 8.9 million such gifts in 2019. Combined with those collected from partnering countries in 2019, the ministry is now sending 10.6 million shoebox gifts to children worldwide.

Through shoeboxes packed with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items, volunteers brought joy to children in need around the world (http://bit.ly/2SqMdDN). Each gift-filled shoebox is a tangible expression of God's love, and it is often the first gift these children have ever received.

Thanks to the generosity of donors, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 178 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories since 1993.

It's not too late for people to make a difference. Though drop-off locations are closed until Nov. 16-23, 2020, information about year-round volunteer opportunities can be found at https://sampur.se/2tIvDqU or by calling 410-772-7360.

Thank you again to everyone who participated in this global project. Many do so year after year.

These simple gifts, packed with love, send a message to children worldwide that they are loved and not forgotten. 

ED. NOTE: Williams is media relations assistant manager for Operation Christmas Child.