BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Bakersfield kids and volunteers gathered on Saturday at a local collection center to celebrate the estimated 13 thousand gift-filled shoe boxes that were collected from residents this year for needy kids.
The annual Operation Christmas Child collects about 1, 300 shoe boxes filled with gifts every year. The group provides people with pre-printed green or red shoe boxes. The community can then fill it up with toys or basic hygiene products like a toothbrush or toothpaste.
"These kids a lot of times, never receive a gift and so they are very excited to have even as simple as a pencil or note pad, something they can't go to school if they don't have these things. They never get gifts for Christmas or for their birthdays like we do here in the United States. Simple items like stuffed animals or a toy they can hold on to and they've never gotten anything like that, it's huge to them,” said Tracy Hall, regional manager for Operation Christmas Child.
Since 1993, volunteers have collected 94 million shoe boxes for needy children living in more than one hundred countries.