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Originally published: 2014-04-07 15:25:38
Last modified: 2014-04-07 15:26:23

Samaritan's Purse among largest volunteer networks

by Sherrie Norris

It's no secret that the selfless giving of time and talent of volunteers help to make any church, civic or community project more successful.

Such is the case with Samaritan's Purse, the international Christian relief and evangelism organization headquartered in Boone. 

During April, which is National Volunteer Month, and in particular April 6-13, which is National Volunteer Week, Samaritan's Purse is recognizing and expressing public appreciation for its volunteer network, which is one of the largest in the world.

Samaritan's Purse has within its organization a pool of 140,000 volunteers in the United States, bringing its worldwide total to more than 500,000 individuals who give of themselves to help spread the love of God. 

"Reaching millions of children each year with good news and great joy would not be possible without our volunteers," said Randy Riddle, national director of Operation Christmas Child. "We are grateful for the selfless dedication of our volunteers."

Thousands of volunteers partner annually, some right here in Boone, with the world's largest Christmas project of its kind, Riddle said. Those who come together from near and far help demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to millions of needy children around the world. Through OCC, kids, families and various groups fill shoeboxes with items such as toys, school supplies and hygiene items, creating gifts that can make a significant difference in the lives of children worldwide.

 OCC is a project of Samaritan's Purse, led by Franklin Graham. Since 1993, OCC has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 113 million children in more than 100 countries. In 2014, the project leaders hope to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 10 million children.