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      Church fills shoeboxes for kids in need

      The First Covenant Church in Iron Mountain is helping create Christmas for children in need throughout the world.

      The church has participated as a drop-off site for Operation Christmas Child for over six years. The project is a nationwide effort to send shoeboxes filled with gifts to kids who never had a gift to open on Christmas morning.

      Volunteers say every box donated touches seven people, and that's something they're proud to be a part of.

      "I know what it's like to have no hope, and to see the joy and hope in the children when they receive the boxes, knowing that someone loves them and cares for them is what it's all about," said Julie Bietila, church relations.

      Close to 1,100 boxes have been collected.

      The church hopes to have close to 2,000 by the end of the weekend.