Operation Christmas Child needs packed shoeboxes


BUCKHANNON — The time to pack your shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child’s collection and distribution is finally here—National Collection Week is Nov. 15-22, 2021.

According to Samaritan’s Purse, the program’s founding international relief organization, President Franklin Graham received a call from a man in England back in 1993, asking if he’d be willing to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children in war-torn Bosnia. Graham agreed, but then put off his assistance since Christmas was months away. As the story goes, he forgot about the promise until he received a call back around Thanksgiving inquiring about the gifts.

Graham reportedly asked his friend, the late Pastor Ross Rhoads, of Calvary Church in Charlotte, to see if he could offer assistance. A short time later, Rhoads showed his congregation how to fill a shoebox with simple gifts and encouraged them to write a letter to the child recipient. “Within weeks, the church had 11,000 shoeboxes lining their hallways,” the organization reported.

“Due to their generosity and additional gifts from Canada, Samaritan’s Purse sent 28,000 shoebox gifts to children in the Balkans that Christmas. Through these gifts, we communicated to children and their families what the angel said to the shepherds about Jesus’ birth: ‘I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.’ (Luke 2:10, ESV),” shared Samaritan’s Purse.

Every year since that first great success, Samaritan’s Purse has continued to collect shoebox gifts filled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items for children around the world. Since the start, Samaritan’s Purse reports that “more than 188 million children in more than 170 countries and territories have received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.”

The excitement is growing for everyone who packs Shoeboxes, as well as new recruits and the anticipating children around the globe. A shoebox can hold an amazing number of items, such as clothing, school supplies, personal hygiene items, coloring books, craft items and toys. A bright article of clothing or a nice toy can be the big item for a shoebox. For those interested in packaging a box, please do not send candy, toothpaste, liquids, or breakable items. The following schedules are for the two drop off locations in Upshur County.

First Baptist Church, located at 42 Hart Avenue, will be accepting drop offs from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. Additional collection times are set for November 15 and 16, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., 5 to 7 p.m. on November 17, 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on November 18, 5 to 7 p.m. on November 19, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on November 20, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on November 21, and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on November 22.

Wayside Southern Baptist Church will also be accepting drop offs from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. Additional collection times will be November 15-19 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., November 20 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., at services on November 21, and from 8 to 11 a.m. on November 22.

Volunteers donate their time to collect shoeboxes at drop off locations and provide transportation of the filled shoeboxes for later distribution. The shoeboxes that are collected in the area will be transported to a central drop off location in Bowden, WV and transferred to trucks from Kessler Trucking for transport to Charlotte, NC.

If you are looking for a way to give during the holidays and are interested in packing a shoebox but need more information, feel free to call First Baptist Church at (304) 472-4789 or Wayside Southern Baptist Church at (304) 472-7412.

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