With Christmas nearly a month and a half away, Erie area students packed up boxes of cheer Wednesday.

Students at Leadership Christian Academy hosted a packing party to prepare for Operation Christmas Child.

It is a national initiative that serves a shoebox full of goodies to underprivileged children across the globe.

The boxes are packed with special treats, toys and jump ropes that are actually handmade by the students.

It is part of a larger organization, Samaritan's Purse, that focuses on humanitarian aid and mission work.

"These kids are coming together to learn what it's like to really serve Jesus by helping other people," said Kathy Schriefer, area coordinator for Operation Christmas Child. "These boxes are not to just give gifts, but also to spread the gospel, the good love of Jesus, to the children in other countries. That's what the kids are doing; they are learning leadership through service."

More than 75 students filled 200 plus Christmas boxes.

The Erie chapter of Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect more than 54,000 donations this year.

Information on how you can help a child this Christmas is available here.

Donations will be collected Nov. 13-20.

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