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Shoebox gift recipient from the Ukraine to share story at Ironton event

For more than 10 years, Lawrence County residents have been a part of the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child, which helps millions of children in need through gift-filled shoeboxes.

The group said they are excited to announce that Mariya Tatarin, who received a shoebox gift as a young girl, is coming to Ironton on Sunday, Aug. 29, to share how this gift, just like those packed in Lawrence County, changed her life.

“We have never had a full circle speaker visit the Ironton area,” Gaylene St. Leger Cox, with the group, said. “A full circle speaker is someone who received a shoebox as a juvenile and is now sharing their story about it and how it changed their life.”

Tatarin, who was born in The Ukraine, is now an American citizen and lives in Cleveland.

This year, southern Ohio volunteers hope to collect more than 13,500 shoeboxes packed with toys, school supplies and hygiene items to contribute toward the global goal of reaching 9.7 million children.

Each shoebox gift is an opportunity to share the Gospel and Tatarin is encouraging the community to continue giving generously, the group said.

At First Baptist Church, Tatarin will share her story at 5 p.m. The church is located at 304 S. Fifth St. in Ironton.

On Sept. 11, area residents are invited to attend the Operation Christmas Child Project Leader Workshop at 10 a.m. the church. Online registration for the workshop is at samaritanspurse.org/occ or by calling Linda Howard at 740-532-0243.

Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, delivers gift-filled shoeboxes to millions of children in need each year.

During Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week Nov. 15 – 22, Lawrence County residents can bring gift-filled shoeboxes to one of the group’s local curbside drop-off locations.

For more information, visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. 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 samaritanspurse.org/buildonline 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. Boxes built online go to hard-to-reach countries.