PORTSMOUTH—On April 10, Operation Christmas Child Southern Ohio Area Coordinator Sherrie Klingaman formally recognized Temple Baptist for their five years of dedicated service to children in need around the world.
During those five years, Temple Baptist has served as Portsmouth’s Drop-Off Site where 9,926 life-changing shoebox gifts, packed with love by generous Scioto County residents, have been collected by dedicated volunteers.
“We were already involved in packing shoeboxes when the additional ministry opportunity was presented,” Pastor John Gowdy said. “Grace Community at Bigelow had been faithfully serving as a drop-off location but was ready to pass that responsibility. So for these past five years, it has been a total joy to help in that part of the process. Obviously, COVID has had some impact, but the Lord has continued to bless through His people. In some ways, this is a year round ministry here at Temple Baptist. My personal primary involvement is the Collection Week. There is always enough help and it goes smoothly each year. Then comes the blessing of hearing some of the results and the incredible statistics associated with this global outreach. It is bathed in prayer and to God be the glory.”
Temple Baptist is one of four Scioto County Drop-Off Sites, and one of almost 5,000 churches in the U.S., where families, community and church groups drop off their shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items during the third week of November. These joy filled shoebox gifts demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way and can make a significant difference in the lives of hurting children around the world.
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization. Since 1993, this project has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 198 million children, in more than 170 countries and territories, suffering from war, disease, famine and persecution.. In 2021, Operation Christmas Child collected 10.5million shoebox gifts, of which more than 600,000 brought hope to children in Ukraine.
“It takes a tremendous effort to get shoebox gifts into the hands of millions of hurting children each year, and our church partners play a vital part.” said Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan’s Purse. “On behalf of the children who receive these gifts, we thank everyone who makes it possible.”
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call Portsmouth volunteer Gaylene St. Leger Cox at 330 904-5873 or visit samaritanspurse.org. National Collection Week for gift-filled shoeboxes is Nov. 14-21; however, shoebox gifts are collected all year at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C. or can be packed online at samaritanspurse.org.