WHEELERSBURG — If you have or like packing Christmas Child boxes, this Saturday at the First Church of Christ in Wheelersburg, a Shoebox recipient shares how Scioto County families are making life-changing impact with Operation Christmas Child gifts.
Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, delivers gift-filled shoeboxes to millions of children in need each year. For more than 15 years, Scioto County families have packed joy-filled shoebox gifts for boys and girls around the world. One of these gifts reached Mariya Tatarin in the Ukraine when she was a young girl. Tatarin shared her story at Nauvoo UMC in W. Portsmouth and First Church of Christ in Wheelersburg on August 29, at the shoebox packing season kick-off event.
As one of a family of eight living in a studio apartment in the early 90’s, neither Tatarin nor her siblings had ever received Christmas gifts except candy and fruit distributed at church. Although her parents both worked, Tatarin explained they could afford only necessities. “We used toothbrushes for 1-2 years until the bristles curled over.” When she and her siblings opened their shoeboxes filled with toothbrushes, crayons, markers, erasers, stuffed animals, soap, towels and so many other things, she exclaimed, “We had not seen that much color in our lives! Everything was exploding with color! We never had that many toys in our whole lives as were in those boxes! White store-bought soap was incredible!” Overwhelmed by their abundance of gifts, Mariya and her siblings shared them with neighbors and classmates.
Exhibiting artistic ability at an early age, Tatarin shared, “Crayons were so much more than I could have prayed for or asked for.” Through a shoebox, “God showed me He cared for me personally. I realized God knows who I am and my talents. He sees the desires of my own heart.” This simple shoebox packed by ‘people for children they don’t know’ brought hope to Mariya who is now an art teacher.
After being inspired by Mariya’s shoebox story, area residents are invited to join shoebox packers at the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Workshop on Saturday, September 11, from 10 a.m. to noon, at the First Church of Christ at 1224 Dogwood Ridge Road, Wheelersburg. This will be a special time to share ideas, build relationships and get up-to-date shoebox resources. What better way to change the life of a child than to fill a shoebox with hope and love! Registration for this free workshop may be made by contacting Church Relations Volunteer Wanda Howard at 740 820-8557 or Claudia Bremmer at 740-464-9433.
Tatarin encouraged Southern Ohio residents to generously fill more than 13,500 life-changing shoeboxes packed with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items—contributing to the global goal of reaching 9.7 million children in Jesus’ Name.
During Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week Nov. 15 – 22, Scioto County residents can bring gift-filled shoeboxes to one of four local curbside drop-off locations. For more information, visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement. Boxes built online go to hard-to-reach countries.
Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, seeks to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 188 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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