PDT Staff Writer
Operation Christmas Child (OCC) held its annual packing party on Saturday at Cornerstone United Methodist Church. At the event, volunteers were expected to pack 8,500 shoe boxes, that will be sent around the world to children in need.
“This will be our fifth community packing party. This year’s shoe boxes will include packing more than 100,000 simple gift items,” said Gaylene St. Leger Cox, OCC spokeswoman.
She said volunteers spent part of the week moving items from storage areas and preparing them to be packed. St. Leger Cox said when the shoe boxes leave Portsmouth, they will be shipped to locations around the world.
“These boxes go to the neediest of children, in the darkest places in the world. They may go to children in Afghanistan or in Zimbabwe and anywhere in between,” St. Leger Cox said. “Boxes will go to children who live in orphanages or children who live in garbage dumps.”
She said the shoe boxes are not only filled with tangible gifts like school supplies and small stuffed animals. “They are also filled with the message of Jesus. That is an indescribable gift that they are going to get. Some of the children may have never heard of Jesus,” St. Leger Cox said.
The event included a presentation by Olivia Lambert, of West Portsmouth, who recently returned from a trip to Mongolia with OCC to distribute shoe box gifts to needy children.
Judy Bayless was one of the many volunteers who helped to pack shoe boxes Saturday. She has been volunteering at packing parties for five years. When asked why she volunteers Bayless said, “because it’s what God wants us to do. To spread His word around the world, especially to those who can’t get it, from any other source.”
According to Crystal Ratliff, Southeast Ohio Area Coordinator for OCC, packing parties provide a testimony to the Lord.
“To be able to see so many people come together and do something to help others, is a blessing,” Ratliff said.
For Todd Edwards, Regional Manager Great Lakes Regional Office of OCC, this is an opportunity for the community to come together for a greater purpose.
“This is amazing, to see people come together to be apart of this world reaching effort to impact the life of a child. It’s amazing to be a part of that knowing what kind of impact they have on the children that receive them,” Edwards said.
For more information about the event, call Ginny Cook at 740-354-1419 or Gaylene St. Leger Cox at 330-904-5873.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or email@example.com.