FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) -- Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child is a national organization to help children in need across the world. They that helps deliver shoe box gifts to kids.
At Sonrise Church Saturday afternoon, Irina Creek spoke with volunteers in Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana. Creek was abandoned by her parents and placed in an orphanage at the age of four. Years later, she received that shoe box gift and it changed her life. Now, she's looking to do the same for someone else.
"It was a very welcome surprise for me and the rest of my friends and classmates. It raised the level of our life in the orphanage. It brought so much joy to the kids,” Creek said.
That shoebox Creek received, there was hair clips, a spiral notebook, toys and a pencil sharpener.
Creek is from the former Soviet Union, when she received that shot box gift at the age of 10, she was adopted by a family in South Carolina.
Now, she says it's her turn to give back.
"When we make it a priority to fulfill other people's needs, god is going to take care of our needs.” Creek said.
Operation Christmas Child started in 1995 in Northeast Indiana. Collection sites were eventually established in Fort Wayne. Now there are a total of 16 locations across Northeast Indiana.
"A wonderful demonstration of god's love getting something you don't deserve. We love when we have the chance to hear from someone like Irina, it just reinforces why we do what we do which is demonstrate god's love to kids in really difficult situations around the world,” Area Coordinator for Northeast Indiana Connie Minier said.
ABC 21 talked with a volunteer for Operation Christmas Child. She says she agrees on how important Creek is to the organization.
“Well, you know the legacy continues that she is helping, then others where she was helped. She felt a value in receiving a box and she and she wants to make sure that's passed on,” Leslie Wharton said.
"That is my prayer and hope that every distribution will be fruitful and it will be life changing for the children and that community."
This year, Fort Wayne volunteers are hoping to collect just over 29,000 boxes. Collection week will be from November 15th through the 22nd and they're shipped from various distributions centers.