ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Christmas will be here before we know it which means it's time to start thinking about gift giving. Maybe not yet for our own families but for kids half a world away.
The Operation Chirstmas Child kicked off tonight. The group was at Temple Baptist Church gathering support from other local churches as they're getting ready to pack shoe boxes to send to kids overseas this holiday season. Valeriy Bianco was a orphan in Russia when he got a shoe box gift through the organization and says that day changed his life.
"Kids here get so many toys for Christmas and a week after that they just sit in the closet," said Bianco. "When I was in Russia receiving my first toy, car toy, that was like jewels for me. I cherished that toy until it broke."
The Rockford area sent more than nine-thousand shoe boxes to needy kids last year. This year's goal is more than ten-thousand. Operation Christmas Child has been around nationally for 20 years and has given out more than a-hundred-million boxes to children in more than 100 countries.