Operation Christmas Child is underway for 2019

Posted August 28, 2019 at 12:47 pm

Operation Christmas Child, a brainstorm of Franklin Graham, son of the late Reverend Billy Graham, has kicked off another campaign to help bring both joy and the gospel to children in impoverished nations across the world.

The local OCC kick-off was held a week ago Sunday, August 18 at Albany First Baptist Church, which has been the local shoebox collection center for the past nine years.

Kathy Conner, who has spearheaded the local drive for the Clinton/Cumberland County area for the past several years, estimated about 100 people attended the kick-off, with at least 10 or more local churches represented.

Churches and other groups and organizations are instrumental in collecting enough boxes to make the event a success year after year, as well as individuals who take time to pack boxes, sometimes months in advance.

Shoeboxes filled with small toys, hygiene items, school supplies, etc. are boxed, collected and eventually shipped to countries and children all around the globe, going to kids who otherwise would not have a Christmas, as we in the U.S. mostly take for granted.

In 2018, the local goal fell short, but there were still 1,559 shoeboxes collected locally and at last week’s kick-off, the goal for this year was set at 1,700 boxes.

Conner noted that the cost of shipping an individual box at $9 per box may seem a little expensive, but noted with the price of postage, it was really a small amount considering the distance that the shoeboxes have to travel in reaching its destination.

During the kick-off, there was special music and speakers, with guest speakers being Larry and Rita Ringler, Lake Cumberland Area Coordinators from Somerset.

The Ringlers told the audience that “seeing the face of a child…who receives a box…makes you want to pack a box and maybe pack more. There are so many kids that are waiting,” they said.

Conner noted that there was a special need for boxes that contain items to benefit older male children, which are also in demand but usually in short supply.

Boxes will be going to some 126 countries this year, plus 50 “restricted” countries, she said.

Conner also said people who pack shoeboxes may want to consider “bulk” shopping to get more supply at a lower cost, especially if you plan on filling multiple boxes.

The following are some instructions on “how to pack your shoebox.”

1. Get a standard-size shoebox to pack for a boy or girl. Need shoeboxes? Preprinted shoeboxes are available on our website at samaritanpurse.org/occ.

2. “Wow” item: Select a quality “wow” toy such as a doll, soccer ball with pump, or stuffed animal. “Every box needs a “wow”’ item.

3. Other gifts. Pack full with other fun toys, hygiene items, and school supplies.

4. Pray. Most importantly, pray for the child who will receive your gift. Including a personal note and photo makes a big impact.

5. Include $9 donation: A donation of $9 is critical to cover shipping and other project costs. Give online through Follow Your Box and discover the destination of your shoebox.

6. Drop off: Take your shoebox gift to a local drop-off location during National Collection Week, the third week of November (18-25), locally at Albany First Baptist Church.

The program caters to children, boys and girls, ages two through 14.

2019 OCC Quick Facts:

* Up to 2018, over 18 million shoeboxes have been collected.

* Total shoeboxes collected in 2018 internationally was over 10.6 million.

* Total shoeboxes collected in the United States, over 8.8 million.

* Shoeboxes collected in the mid-south region, 748,579.

* Receiving countries: In 2018, Operation Christmas Child delivered over 11 million shoebox gifts to children in over 100 countries including Ghana, Madagascar, Romania, Papua New Guinea and Timbuktu. Since 1993, OCC has delivered shoe boxes in 160 countries.

* There are a total of 4,619 collection sites in the U.S. in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and 347 in the mid-south.

* There are a total of eight processing centers. The processing center where local collections are taken is Boone, North Carolina.

* There are more than a half-million international volunteers and over 140,000 volunteers in the United States alone.

The Greatest Journey in 2018:

* A record 3.96 million shoebox recipients participated in the follow-up discipleship program in 2018.

* More than 2 million students made decisions for Christ in 2018–the most since the program began in 2009.

* In 2018, over 200,000 teachers were trained to disciple children through the 12 lesson Bible Study.

* More than 2.77 million children graduated from The Greatest Journey in 2018–marking the highest yearly total to date.

The Greatest Journey since 2009:

* 922,415 teachers trained in The Greatest Journey since 2009.

* 18,953,254 children enrolled in The Greatest Journey in 2009.

* 8,974,873 decisions for Christ in The Greatest Journey since 2009.

For more information on Operation Christmas Child and how to participate, call the Albany First Baptist Church at 606-37-5909. If no answer, leave a message.