SCIOTO— Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is a success year after year, even during the pandemic, the group managed to pull off the program this past Christmas giving gifts to many local and nationally.
“Thanks to those in Southern Ohio who opened their hearts and answered the call from Operation Christmas Child in 2020, they made it possible for 11,577 shoebox gifts to contribute to the 7.8 million packed in the United States,” Samaritan’s Purse said in a statement. “In the face of unprecedented trials and challenges, these Gospel Opportunities were part of the 8.9 million hope-filled boxes distributed worldwide. Since 1993, more than 186,000,000 life-changing boxes have been distributed in 160 countries and territories, from Antarctica to Zimbabwe, by this Samaritan’s Purse project. In addition to reaching children struggling in garbage dumps in Panama and Ecuador and orphans eking out an existence in the streets of Mongolia, shoebox carton-filled watercraft made their way to the end of the earth- Wotje, an atoll that is part of the Marshall Islands in the North Pacific.”
The organization also added “When the multitudes of children opened these simple gift boxes demonstrating God’s love in a tangible way, in many instances the first gift that they ever received, before they touched their hygiene items, school supplies and perhaps a toy and clothing, hope flowed out of that precious box. Each “missionary,” who lovingly packed and prayed over a shoebox, gave a child hope and the knowledge that God loves them, which is the most precious gift that they will ever receive!”
While Christmas is still several months away, the OCC is reaching out early to groups especially churches and their Vacation Bible School programs to get a jump-start for next year. Gaylene St. Leger Cox, who works with Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child Southern Ohio, has brought some important news that may help local churches in their Vacation Bible School programs.
“With Vacation Bible School just around the corner, our Southern Ohio Operation Christmas Child Team wants to reach out to Scioto County churches with our invitation to include our shoebox ministry as their missions project. We are excited to make our VBS project resource kits available to them free of charge,” Cox said.
“Our Southern Ohio Area Operation Christmas Child Team is inviting you to join us in a 5-county VBS Event by sharing the true joy of giving with your Vacation Bible School “missionaries.” We will help you equip children to spread love to other children by providing free VBS resource kits for this ‘children helping children’ ministry. The kit includes: a DVD highlighting shoebox stories, a brochure explaining ‘How to Pack a Shoebox’, shoeboxes, reproducible coloring sheets, stickers, balloons and a sample craft that children can make to include in their shoeboxes. These free resources are also available to community or school groups wishing to make a difference in the life of a hurting child,” Samaritan’s Purse said.
Operations Christmas Child realizes that some are still not able to get together so, in the absence of gathering in person, Operation Christmas Child also offers the virtual online packing opportunity described in the ‘Building a Shoebox Online’ brochure.
If your church group, school group, or community group is interested in being involved with this program please contact Southern Ohio Area Team Church Relations team member Wanda Howard, at (740) 820-8557, about accessing your free resources or to answer your questions about this life-changing opportunity. For more information about our free resources and shoebox packing and volunteer opportunities, go online to www.samaritanspurse.org.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved