An emergency room patient is transferred to the Samaritan's Purse Emergency Field Hospital.

It’s that time again—time to fill shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and hygiene items for impoverished children around the world. Operation Christmas Child (OCC), a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, will hold its National Collection Week from Monday, November 18 through Monday, November 25.

By participating in OCC, you can share Jesus’ love by supplying children with needed items, but more importantly, the gospel message is presented during the distribution.

Samaritan’s Purse works with the local churches in more than 160 countries and territories to distribute the shoeboxes. More than 168 million children have received an OCC shoebox since 1993.

Shoeboxes should be packed with items according to gender and a specified age range. Instructions on how to pack a box and a list of suggested gifts, as well as a list of prohibited items, can be found at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.

An online donation of $9 pays for the shoebox’s shipping and provides tracking to know where and when the box is delivered.

During collection week, you can drop off your shoeboxes at one of these collection sites in the Greater Brandon area: The Chapel at FishHawk in Lithia, RiverStone Church in Gibsonton, Bell Shoals Baptist in Apollo Beach, Shiloh Baptist Church in Plant City and First Baptist Church of Dover. Drop-off times vary with each location. Please visit the website for specific dates and times.

OCC is only one facet of Samaritan’s Purse. The nondenominational, evangelical organization has been providing physical relief and spiritual aid since 1970. Aptly named after the ‘Good Samaritan’ from Luke chapter 10, this international organization assists those affected by poverty, natural disasters, famine and war.

In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, which pummeled the Bahamas in early September, Samaritan’s Purse deployed a mobile emergency field hospital that comprised of 40 beds, an operating room, intensive care unit, outpatient department and emergency room. It has also transported close to 300 tons of emergency supplies to the islands and deployed more than 130 staff members.

“Our team on the ground is seeing catastrophic devastation and widespread suffering. Our focus is on getting critically needed supplies and medical care to those who need it most,” said Franklin Graham, the president of Samaritan’s Purse. “Please continue to pray for the Bahamas as we bring relief and share the comfort, hope and love of Jesus Christ.”

If you would like to help Samaritan’s Purse with its relief efforts in the Bahamas, you can donate online by visiting www.samaritanspurse.org and search ‘hurricane relief.’