Union County residents packed more than 1,100 shoeboxes last month for Operation Christmas Child, and organizers now have a new way for more people to contribute.

Union County residents packed more than 1,100 shoeboxes last month for Operation Christmas Child, and organizers now have a new way for more people to contribute.

Between Nov. 15 and 22, 1,149 shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies and other items were dropped off at churches and other facilities around Marysville during the national collection week for the fundraiser, according to spokesperson Sarah Perrott.

A project of the international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse, Operation Christmas Child works to provide children in need with something to open on Christmas.

Although the collection of physical shoeboxes has been completed, the charity has launched an online tool, Build a Box, that allows people to assemble a shoebox full of gifts online.

"One more shoebox means one more child, one more life that can have hope and joy this Christmas," said Todd Edwards, Great Lakes regional manager. "The power of a simple shoebox gift is incredible."

Donors use the tool to select a child's age and gender before shopping through an online selection of toys, necessities and school supplies, according to Perrott. The donor can add a personalized note, and then the boxes are assembled by volunteers at Operation Christmas Child's processing center in Charlotte, N.C. Donors can then follow the box's delivery path online.

"This process is unlike anything we've ever done, and it will allow even more children to receive gift-filled shoeboxes," said Jim Harrelson, vice president of Operation Christmas Child. "We want each of these children to know the true meaning of Christmas."

The Build a Box tool can be accessed at www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.

- Lin Rice