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Once again Ketchikan is packing the gifts that keep on giving.

The community’s churches annually participate in Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child.

The effort involves encouraging their membership to take a red-and-green shoebox — or multiple boxes — and fill it up with items for children in need. The children range in age from 2 to 14.

The boxes contain small items of clothing and school supplies. They also might be filled with personal hygiene articles and toys.

Once the boxes are returned to the churches, they are packed up and sent to processing centers where they are inspected before being shipped internationally.

More than 100 countries participate in the operation. Their pastors and community leaders distribute the boxes along with the story of Jesus Christ.

These communities often arrange festivities to coincide with the distribution of the boxes. Not all of the distribution takes place at or even around Christmas. Some might be given out around Easter or another time of the year.

But it’s not the date, it’s the gift-giving that matters. That Ketchikan participates so generously is a testimony to the heart and soul of the community.