SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Children, teenagers, families and people of all ages are invited to join in the joy of the Christmas season a little early by packing gift boxes for children around the world at Willow Grove Presbyterian Church (1961 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains) on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 11:30 a.m.
 
The Scotch Plains-Fanwood community is invited to help with the Packing Party, which is hosted by the church's Mini Mission group for children in first - sixth grades. The Mini Mission group meets regularly to help children learn compassion and empathy while growing in their Christian faith and serving others and has been collecting items since September.  
 
Participants will be packing boxes of gifts for children as part of the Operation Christmas Child sponsored by Samaritan's Purse, a ministry that delivers millions of gift-filled shoe boxes around the U.S. and the world to children who are suffering because of war, natural disaster, and poverty.
 
 
Following the 10:00 a.m. worship service, adults and children of all ages will fill the shoe boxes with donations as well as make Christmas cards to include in the boxes. Refreshments will be served during the Packing Party. This event is a service project that a family can do together. Boxes will be delivered to Evangel Church in Scotch Plains, the regional donation center for Operation Christmas Child. 
 
Donations of items are being accepted. Suggested items for gifts include the following for girls and boys ages 5 - 9: small toys - small cars, balls, small stuffed animals, to jewelry, kazoos; school supplies - crayons or markers, stamps and ink pads, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, small board books, stickers; hygiene - child's toothbrush, toothpaste, mild bar soap (in a plastic bag), comb, washcloth. Also, plastic and cardboard shoe boxes are needed. 
 
Willow Grove Presbyterian Church is an active Christian congregation committed to spiritual growth for all ages, intergenerational friendships, and service to neighbors near and far.  For more information, call 908-232-5678 or visit www.willowgrovechurch.org. The church is located at 1961 Raritan Road in Scotch Plains near the Southside soccer field and firehouse, just off South Martine Ave.