Operation Christmas Child exceeds goal for shoebox collections

Posted December 4, 2019 at 4:05 pm

Operation Christmas Child, a part of Reverend Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse organization, wrapped up another local successful year of filling shoeboxes with gifts for needy children in impoverished countries around the world.

Kathy Conner, local Church Relations and Drop-Off Center (Albany First Baptist Church) Coordinator, said the local Clinton/Cumberland County drive not only met, but slightly exceeded its 2019 goal of shoebox collections.

With numbers decreased for various reasons over the past few years, the local goals were moved back somewhat from when up to 2,000 plus boxes were shipped to overseas children.

The 2019 goal, which was set back in the summer, was 1,700–and when all boxes were collected and shipped from the local collection center, 1,704 boxes had been donated.

Conner said the regional totals this year, that was released last week, showed a total of 14,734 boxes. The area includes Clinton, Cumberland, Wayne, Pulaski and McCreary counties.

Each year, the program collects shoeboxes filled with items such as small toys, hygiene products and more that are delivered to hundreds of counties around the world.

This year, 17 churches in Clinton and Cumberland counties participated; four youth groups packed boxes as special projects; one local organization, the Clinton County Woman’s Club, helped pack boxes, along with nine other individuals who volunteered.

A total of 18 volunteers helped at the Drop Off Center on Sunday, November 24 to place then in cartons for the next leg of the journey, totaling 154.5 volunteer hours for the collection week.

Samaritan’s Purse shoebox gifts are going to more than 100 counties this year in its gospel outreach effort in areas where the gospel is restricted. They also plan to deliver shoeboxes to more than 1,000 Pacific Islands in the next four years and in Saipan alone, there have been 70 shoebox distributions reaching roughly 12,000 children with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In 2018, OCC worked among 107 unreached people groups in 46 countries, with more than 86,000 children enrolling in “The Greatest Journey.”

Samaritan’s Purse coordinators note that shoebox gifts open doors to communities without a church, as children receive the gifts and the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Greatest Journey course is offered to show children how to know Christ and share Him with others, including their own families.


* In 2018, over 10.6 million shoebox gifts were collected worldwide, 8.8 million which came from the United States;

* 168 million have been delivered to children in need in more than 160 countries since 1993;

* 2019 U.S. collection goal was 9.1 million;

* Over 9,000 volunteers serve in the U.S. year-round;

* Nearly 5,000 drop-off locations receive shoeboxes during National Collection Week, which ran from November 18-25, with over 100,000 volunteers working during collection week;

* Shoebox gifts are prepared for overseas shipment at eight major processing centers across the U.S., with the local collections being shipped to Boone, North Carolina.

Operation Christmas Child is not intended as a solution for meeting physical needs, but rather a strategy for the local church to meet spiritual needs of children in their communities. The unexpected gift delights and sparks hope in the life of a child as they hear of Jesus’ love for them. Shoebox gifts are given freely in Jesus’ name.