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I am writing to thank Chattanooga residents for sharing the true meaning of Christmas with children in need this past holiday season.

Because of the generosity of donors in Chattanooga and across the United States, Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan's Purse, collected more than 8.8 million shoe boxes in 2018. Combined with those collected from partnering countries in 2018, the ministry is now sending more than 10.6 million shoe box gifts to children suffering from poverty, natural disasters, war, disease and famine.

Those simple gifts bring smiles to the faces of children around the world. Packed with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items, those gifts bring joy and are a tangible expression of God's love. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 157 million gift-filled shoe boxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

Those simple gifts send a message to children worldwide that they are loved and not forgotten.

Dana Williams

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