WINDSOR – Operation Christmas Child is fast approaching.
The national collection week for Operation Christmas Child is fast approaching since it will be from November 15 to 22 this year.
This project is done through the Samaritan Fellowship which partners with local churches around the world to share the good news of Jesus Christ and make disciples of the nations. Its mission is to demonstrate the love of God in a tangible way to children in need around the world.
What is Operation Christmas Child?
This is a shoebox that the Samaritan Handbag collects and is filled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items for children around the world.
The Operation Christmas Child Project begins with children or seniors wrapping gifts from the shoebox each year.
The local churches then collect the boxes from their communities. Local churches serve as a drop-off location for shoeboxes. Then it’s time to ship the boxes to the kids.
For this, thousands of volunteers serve each year to inspect and prepare the shoe boxes for internal shipment. During this time, the workers will stop every hour for a few minutes to pray for the children who will receive these boxes.
It’s not too late to prepare a shoebox or several shoeboxes for a child to do their day and have them ready to drop off.
Shoe boxes can be dropped off at several different locations in and around surrounding counties. Drop-off points will open November 15-22 this year to accept packaged shoe boxes.
“In the midst of the pandemic, children around the world need to know that God loves them and that there is hope,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “A simple shoebox gift opens the door to sharing the true hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ.”
When it comes to distributing the boxes worldwide in over 100 countries, volunteer national leadership teams train pastors and community leaders who want to share the gospel message and bless children. Leaders learn how to organize child-friendly awareness events and how to implement the Greatest Journey Follower Following Program.
Pastors around the world will hold awareness events in places where people may not know Christ and invite them to follow him. Other churches will use the boxes as outreach resources in orphanages and other at-risk areas.
As a result of what they learn, boys and girls grow in Christ and share with their friends and family.
But it all has to start with the community that packs the shoeboxes. Now one might well wonder how the shoebox can be packaged?
Start with a medium sized cardboard or plastic shoebox, visit the Samaritan handbag label options page at www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/label-options to find out which label is best fit, fill the boxes with a medium to large item with the other products, pray over the box, donate for shipping costs, and finally drop the shoebox at a drop-off location.
Some recommended items for medium to large sized items are a stuffed animal, a soccer ball with a pump, or dress. Some personal care items recommended for age groups are combs, toothbrushes, washcloths, reusable plastic containers, blankets, compact mirrors, flashlights, stick deodorants, hair cutters. nails and files. Recommended school supplies are pencils, pencils, markers, notebooks, pens and glue sticks. Recommended toys are kickballs, foam balls, kites, slinkies, yo-yos, and plastic toys and figures. Remember to leave a personal note and photo in the shoebox for the child who may receive the box.
There are several different local drop-off points. The drop-off location in Bertie County is at Ross Baptist Church, 1020 Bull Hill Road Windsor. Shoe boxes can be left there from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. from November 15 to 19, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. November 20, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Sun. Nov. 21 and 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. Mon. November 22.
There is a drop-off point in Williamston at the Williamston Memorial Baptist Church, 109 West Church St. Shoe boxes can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to noon on Mondays. Nov. 15, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. Nov. 16, 10 a.m. – noon Wed. November 17, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday. Nov. 18, 2 p.m. to 4:20 p.m. and Nov. 21 and 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Mon. November 22.
Ahoskie’s First Baptist Church at 312 Main Street West is also a shoebox drop-off location. There are drop-off times from 4 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. Monday through Friday. November 15, 9 a.m. – noon Tue November 16, 4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Nov 17, 9 a.m. – noon Nov 18 and 19, 10 a.m. – noon Nov 20, 4 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Sun 21 November and 5 – 7 a.m. 22 November.
Open Door Church Edenton, 1255 Haughton Rd, is also a drop-off location. Deposit hours will be 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on November 15 and 16, and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Nov 17, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Nov 18 and 19, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sat. November 20, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. Sun. 21 November and 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Mon. 22 November.
So it is not too late to go out and get the necessary supplies and sit down and prepare one or more shoeboxes for these children for Christmas.
History of Operation Christmas Child
In the summer of 1993 Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, received a call from a man in England asking if he would be ready to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children in war-torn Bosnia. . Franklin agreed, but figured Christmas was months away. He then forgot about his promise until he got a call over Thanksgiving asking him for gifts.
Franklin asked his friends, the late Pastor Ross Rhoads of Calvary Church in Charlotte, to see if he could meet this need. A Sunday shortly after, Pastor Rhoads showed his congregation how to fill a shoebox with simple gifts and encouraged them to include a letter to a child as well. Within weeks, the church had 11,000 shoeboxes lined up in its hallways.
Due to their generosity and additional gifts from Canada, Samaritan’s Purse sent 28,000 shoebox gifts to children in the Balkans this Christmas. Through these gifts, we communicated to the children and their families what the angel told the shepherds about the birth of Jesus.
Each year since, Samaritan’s Purse has collected shoe boxes full of toys, school supplies and hygiene items for children around the world. Since 1993, more than 188 million children in more than 170 countries and territories have received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. The project not only offers the joy of what for many children is their first gift, but also gives them a tangible expression of God’s love.
Tens of thousands of volunteers from local churches around the world team up with the Samaritan’s Purse to present the gospel of Jesus Christ at festive outreach events where children are surprised by these shoebox gifts.
Thadd White is Group Editor for Bertie Ledger-Advance, Chowan Herald, Perquimans Weekly, The Enterprise & Eastern North Carolina Living. He can be contacted by email at [email protected]