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      Spreading smiles with shoeboxes

      Every year children across the globe get their first taste of the holiday spirit. It's all thanks to Operation Christmas Child, a non-denominational Christian organization that provides gifts to impoverished children in more than 130 countries.

      "You'd see them grab the box put it up over their head, shake the box and say, â??My friend in America has given me a gift,â??" said Rudy Lawrence, the U.P. Coordinator for Operation Christmas Child.

      Operation Christmas Child sends shoebox gifts, to children living in poverty, filled with basic hygiene items, school supplies and toys. And volunteers say the material possessions aren't the only things packed in the boxes.

      "This is the world's largest evangelic outreach program;" said LuAnn Lindquist, the Delta County Community and Church Director for OCC. "Last year over 800,000 children became Christians due to this program."

      Last year Operation Christmas Child gave out its 100 millionth shoebox since it began in 1993.

      "It's hard to not get involved because it's fun," Lindquist said. "You don't even have to leave your home; you can go online and build a box without even going shopping."

      To build a shoebox online, click here.

      There are 12 shoebox pickup and drop-off locations in Upper Michigan. Drop offs are November 18-25. For more information, click here .