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Suncoast residents participating in Operation Christmas Child

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SARASOTA (WWSB)- Suncoast families are on a mission to make an impact in the lives of children in need.

Charlotte, Sarasota, Desoto, and Manatee counties are participating in ‘Operation Christmas Child.’

Starting today, people are collecting shoebox gifts filled with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items, as a part of Operation Christmas Child's national collection week.

They're donating colorfully wrapped shoebox gifts to be sent to children around the world, “many of whom have never received a gift before and have very little to call their own,” according to officials with Samaritans Purse, the organization that is sponsoring the event.

The Samaritan's Purse project will deliver these gifts to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine.

Donations will be distributed to kids in need in over 120 countries.

To find the nearest drop off location, you can go to samaritanspurse.org and put in your zip code.