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Serving Disaster Survivors using Your Creativity

Each year thousands suffer after surviving a natural disaster. As we have spoken to survivors they often mention missing the Christmas ornaments they lost. We understand we cannot replace the memories of those lost ornaments but hope we can help survivors begin to create new ones. We want these survivors to know they have not been forgotten and each year as they trim their tree hope they will remember people from all over the country, and the world, cared enough to make and send an ornament.

2021 was our second year serving survivors of disasters providing homemade Christmas ornaments. In 2020 our ornaments went to survivors of the fires in Talent and Lincoln City, Oregon.

This year we remembered those in Kentucky and Tennessee who had experienced devastating floods. Hundreds of homes were lost. Unfortunately, lives were also lost. Just as Kentucky was recovering from spring flooding that destroyed homes and the only grocery store in town, a tropical storm soaked the already waterlogged ground in August causing more damage. Tennessee suffered severe flooding causing the loss of hundreds of homes and 20 lives. Then, hurricane Ida struck and much of their support left for the Gulf States.

This year 5,800 homemade ornaments were gathered created by 650 individuals from 19 states. We were overwhelmed and humbled by all the amazing support. We hope to grow each year enabling us to serve more and more survivors and to bring them love and hope. We have been challenged to get ornaments from all 50 states so please invite friends from all over the country.

Please join us by creating is ornament or donating so we can purchase supplies for those who would like to create but have limited financial resources. We are also looking for funding to help pay for shipping cost.

Please share and invite your family, church group, crafting friends, 4H group, girls scout troop and others to join us!

It's simple:

1: Create homemade ornaments of you choice. Don't make them too fragile as they will need to be mailed.

2. Create a note or hangtag for each ornament. They should include the place they were created, city, state and if outside the United States, the country. You may also include the name of your group and a message.

3. Package each ornament and tag in a clear cellophane baggie. Cellophane bags can be ordered online or purchased in a craft store and are less expensive than sandwich baggies.

4. Mail package by October 15th giving us time to organize them into groups of a dozen or more per family so they can be delivered by the first week in December.

Check out Operation Christmas Ornaments near and far today and get started! Making ornaments takes time. It is a fun way to get together with others to create memories meeting a need. Serving others is such a great feeling and a great way to help children understand the joy of giving. As disasters happen talk to your friends and family about the loss survivors are feeling and explain that all the attention they are receiving now will go away very quickly. Survivors are often forgotten after a few weeks or months. We will not forget them!

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