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Former Romanian orphan to speak about Operation Christmas Child

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Livia Satterfield, 24, will share her story today and Saturday on how Operation Christmas Child brightened her holiday when she was a young orphan in Romania.

Sponsors hope her story will inspire people around the north country to become a part of Operation Christmas Child, according to Patricia C. Jennings, local Operation Christmas Child volunteer organizer.

“It had a great impact on her life,” Ms. Jennings said Thursday. “She’ll tell her story tomorrow. She ended up being adopted by an American couple, so that’s why she’s here now.”

According to a news release from the New York North Central Area chapter of Operation Christmas Child, Ms. Satterfield received a shoe box filed with hygiene items, school supplies, small toys and her favorite item of hair barrettes when she was 12 years old. At that time she had been living in a Romanian orphanage for 10 years.

This is the first time someone who benefited from Operation Christmas Child will have visited the north country, Ms. Jennings said. Ms. Satterfield will speak at 7 p.m. today at New Life Christian Church, 1222 Arsenal St., and at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the church during one of the organization’s local shoe box packing parties. About 500 boxes are expected to be packed Saturday. Both events are open to the public.

Those who attend Saturday’s event are asked to bring small toys to help fill each box.

Operation Christmas Child started in 1994 in Boonville. Since then, individual volunteers as well as church groups and other organizations have collected shoe boxes and basic supplies for children to be sent to war-torn countries and countries that have experienced a disaster.

“We’re really hoping thousands more boxes come out of this,” Ms. Jennings said. “We just pack shoe boxes with anything small you can fit in it that would bless a child. I’m asking from the community, from this point on, to get their own shoe boxes and pack items in them, and bring them to us in November.”

Ms. Jennings said the third week in that month, Nov. 14 to 21, will be Operation Christmas Child’s national shoe box collection week. New Life Christian Church will be one of the local drop-off sites.

Participants also are asked to donate the $7 shipping fee for each box.

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