Rotorua is being called on to help children in need overseas to have a memorable Christmas by receiving a box of goodies they can call their own.

Operation Christmas Child is under way, with the community able to pick up shoe boxes and start collecting items.

Boxes today contain something to wear, something educational, something for hygiene, something to play with, something special and something to love.

Operation Christmas Child Rotorua co-ordinator Jan Bellingham says she hopes to be able to send off 700 boxes from Rotorua at least, as that is about how many they usually get.

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"It would be great if we could get more than that."

Jan says some of the boxes go to Fiji and most go to Cambodia.

"It's a way of people, especially families and children, to think of others at Christmas."

She says a lot of these children never get a gift.

These boxes also help aid organisation, Samaritan's Purse to do more with its relief and aid work because it breaks down barriers between the workers and the locals, she says.

Operation Christmas Child began in 1993 - the height of the war in Bosnia - when there were thousands of refugees, many suffering women and children.

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Empty boxes can be collected from Talk Tech Now and people have until the end of October to drop off full shoeboxes.

They are collected in October and sent to Auckland for checking before going overseas.