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. 

Willow Grove Presbyterian Church invites the community to come to a Packing Party on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 11:30 am in Alexander Hall.  The Mini Mission group of Willow Grove Church, a new group for children first - sixth grades, is hosting this event. The group has been collecting items since September.

Participants  will be packing shoeboxes of gifts for children as part of the Operation Christmas Child sponsored by Samaritan's Purse.  This ministry of Samaritan’s Purse 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.

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Following the 10:00 a.m. worship service, adults and children of all ages will fill the shoeboxes 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 a family can do together.  

Donations of items are being accepted at the church.  Suggested items for gifts include the following for girls and boys ages 5 - 9: toys - small cars, balls, small dolls or stuffed animals; school supplies - crayons or markers, stamps and ink pads, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books; hygiene - child's toothbrush, toothpaste, mild bar soap (in a plastic bag), comb, washcloth.  Also, plastic and cardboard shoeboxes 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 off South Martine Ave.