Operation Christmas Child held a kickoff event on Saturday at Millbrook Baptist Church to give out materials and information for the churches in the area that are involved.

As of this year, there are six relay churches that help collect the shoe boxes. These churches all help to increase the number of shoe boxes that are sent out every year.

It doesn’t end with the giving of the shoe boxes. Each child is offered the chance to learn about God through a new program called “The Greatest Journey.”

“Each child that gets a shoe box gets a chance to be saved along the way,” said Curtis Nappier, Aiken area coordinator for Operation Christmas Child.

Since 1993, they will have reached 100 million boxes this year.

The $7 required for each box also goes toward the materials for each child in this program, which consists of three booklets, The New Testament Bible and a certification at the end of this 12-week program. All of these come in the childrens’ language. They are available in 54 languages, and the program is adding 20 more this year.

Some people put a lot of money into the shoe boxes but it doesn’t have to be that way.

“It doesn’t take a lot,” said Lance Danko, media relations coordinator. “Normal, everyday items can make a difference.”

There are many children that go through this program, and about 70 percent of them have accepted Jesus, according to Nappier.

This year’s Operation Christmas Child mission “is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the good news of Jesus Christ.”

National Collection Week will be held Nov. 12 through 19, and the Aiken collection center for Operation Christmas Child, Aiken’s First Baptist Church, will be collecting shoe boxes.