It doesn't take a lot to put a smile on a child's face ... especially a child who hasn't experienced the wonders of the Christmas season. That's why Operation Christmas Child is such a worthy and successful program.

The gift-collecting program is scheduled for Nov. 12-19.

The program is a simple one. Operation Christmas Child, one of the world's largest Christmas projects, sends shoe boxes filled with gifts to more than 8 million children in 100 countries.

These children are living in areas that are suffering from natural disaster, war, terrorism, disease, famine and poverty.

The boxes are filled with school supplies, toys, necessity items, hard candy and a letter of encouragement. The items do not have to be expensive.

The low cost of participating makes the project a good one for the entire family. Mothers and fathers should enlist the help of their youngsters in selecting items to donate. Children, after all, know what other kids might enjoy.

From Madison, the boxes are sorted by Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization and then are sent to all corners of the world - wherever a need exists.

As an added bonus, families can track where their gifts have been sent. That would make a nice family project, to learn about the region where they have made a difference in a child's life.

People who want to participate should take gift-filled shoe boxes to Trinity United Methodist Church, 412 W. Main St., during the week of Nov. 12-19.

Volunteers at the church will wrap the boxes with paper and pack them to be shipped to Samaritan's Purse, which will send them to the children.

For more information on the program, call (812) 265-3059 and speak with Ruth Craig who has coordinated the local effort for many years.

Operation Christmas Child is a proven program, and Madison has stepped up and participated. We encourage residents to become involved.

Putting a smile on a child's face at Christmas is priceless.