I wanted to write to thank fellow Huntington Beach residents who generously gave of their time and means to help impact thousands of hurting kids this Christmas.
Together we were able to pack over 5,600 shoe boxes — filled with toys, school supplies and basic necessities — for Operation Christmas Child. Our packed shoe box gifts, combined with millions of others, are now on their way to needy children in 100 countries.
During the 2012 collection season, Operation Christmas Child reached a milestone — more than 100 million children have been impacted by the power of a simple gift since 1993.
I would like to thank the volunteers at our local collection sites and all those who packed an Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift. For many of the children who receive these gifts, this shoe box will be the first gift they have ever received.
Although our local drop-off locations here in Huntington Beach are closed, gifts are received year-round at Samaritan's Purse by mailing them to 801 Bamboo Road, Boone, N.C., 28607.
There are also year-round volunteer opportunities available to serve with Operation Christmas Child. Find out how you can use your gifts and talents to make a difference in children's lives around the world by visiting http://www.samaritanspurse.org or by calling (704) 432-7030.
Thank you again to everyone who participated in this project. A simple gift, packed with love, can communicate hope and transform the lives of children worldwide.
Editor's note: The author is West Coast Regional Director of Operation Christmas Child.
Military weapons are not the problem
To those that keep saying we need to ban military weapons please do your homework.
The firearms used in Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Conn. are semi automatic firearms just like 90% of all handguns shotguns and rifles sold in America.
They are not full auto rifles that the military uses. If you really want to ban something look at vehicles, knives and clubs they kill more people than firearms do every year.
Eating more veggies can thwart flu epidemic
The flu epidemic has invaded 48 states, overwhelming medical facilities, exhausting vaccine supplies and killing 29 children and thousands of seniors.
Both the problem and solution to this disaster hinge on how we relate to animals raised for food.
Indeed, 61% of the 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans originate with animals. The more recent, contagious, and deadly viruses among these include Asian, dengue fever, Ebola, H5N1 (bird), HIV, SARS, West Nile and yellow fever.
The pandemic "Spanish flu" of 1918, killed 20 million to 50 million people worldwide, and the World Health Organization predicts more pandemics in the future.
Today's factory farms are virtual flu factories. Sick, crowded, highly stressed animals in contact with contaminated feces and urine provide ideal incubation media for viruses. As these microbes reach humans, they mutate to defeat the new host's immune system, then propagate by contact.
Each of us can help end animal farming and build up our own immune system against the flu by replacing animal products in our diet with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These foods don't carry flu viruses, or government warning labels, are touted by every major health advocacy organization, and were the recommended fare in the Garden of Eden.
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