Christmas shoebox recipient to speak in Carbondale | PostIndependent.com

Christmas shoebox recipient to speak in Carbondale

Staff Report

Roaring Fork Valley residents have annually been part of an international Christmas project called Operation Christmas Child that has delivered more than 145 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in need since 1993.

One such shoebox gift reached Vladimir Prokhnevskiy in Kiev, Ukraine, when he was a young boy. This weekend, Prokhnevskiy will visit Roaring Fork Valley shoebox packers to share personally how a simple gift made a life-changing impact.

Prokhnevskiy, hosted by the local project of Operation Christmas Child, will be sharing his story on Sunday at The Orchard in Carbondale.

At 8 a.m. Monday, he will visit Cornerstone Classical School to encourage students and volunteers as they kick off the upcoming collection season to fill more than 2,000 shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and hygiene items.

Growing up in a family of nine children, Prokhnevskiy didn’t get many gifts, and food was scarce. One harsh winter in Kiev, Prokhnevskiy and his siblings rode a bus and then a tram to get to the church where shoeboxes were handed out.

The brightly colored gifts stood out immediately. His favorite items were candy and toys, but he remembers “brushing” his teeth with floss to enjoy the minty flavored string and having a toothbrush of his own.

Prokhnevskiy is now speaking on behalf of the gift project by visiting area groups and churches to encourage them in the work they are doing to bring joy to children just like him all around the world.

His desire is to share with as many people as he meets “the joy, blessing and hope” that he received in a time of desperation, through one simple shoebox.

He speaks at 10 a.m. Sunday at The Orchard, 110 Snowmass Drive in Carbondale.

During Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week, Nov. 13-20, shoebox gifts can be dropped off at locations across the Roaring Fork Valley.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 303-745-9179 or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. By going online to give the suggested donation of $9 per shoebox gift, participants can follow their box to discover where in the world it will be delivered. They can also pack a shoebox gift online and even upload a photo and note of encouragement.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 145 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 150 countries and territories.