It’s Not Too Late to Pack Box Online for Operation Christmas Child

OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD
Physical shoeboxes filled with gifts for children worldwide have been collected, but it’s not too late to pack a shoebox online. Deadline is Dec. 31. Just go to https://samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/buildonline/ and follow the instructions. 
More information: Operation Christmas Child is sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse. For more information, contact Naomi Wood, area coordinator at 325-660-5633 or abileneareaocc@gmail.com

By LORETTA FULTON

At a minimum, 7,170 children will get a box full of presents for Christmas, thanks to the generosity of people in the Abilene area who participated in Operation Christmas Child.

Collection week ended Monday, Nov. 23, and 6,826 physical shoeboxes were packed into shipping cartons, loaded onto two semi-trailers, and taken to the Dallas/Fort Worth Processing Center in Coppell. From there, Santa loaded the boxes of presents onto his sleigh and took off for worldwide destinations. Another 344 boxes were filled online. 

“It is not too late for folks to pack a box online,” said Naomi Wood, area coordinator for Operation Christmas Child and a member of Wylie United Methodist Church. Deadline for filling a box online is Dec. 31.

Both Wylie UMC and First Baptist Church served as collection points for churches and other groups to drop off their boxes. The numbers were down somewhat this year, but considering the difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Wood was pleased with what was gathered.

“With our current situation, the fact that we were able to collect shoeboxes and that people packed them is such a victory,” Wood said. 

One of those kind souls who volunteered with the collection was Jennifer Miller, a member of First Baptist Church since 2012 and assistant with the pre-school and children’s departments. Because of COVID, people drove up to the drop-off spot at either First Baptist or Wylie United Methodist and a volunteer, wearing a mask and gloves, came to the car to get the shoeboxes. The drive didn’t even have to get out of the car if they didn’t want to.

“Oh, that was easy,” was the comment that Miller heard the most at First Baptist. 

Most people did get out of the car to help with the unloading and packing into shipping cartons inside the building, said Debra Clemmer, ministry assistant to pastor for administration & spiritual development. 

“The drive-thru worked well, and most still got out to help, especially if they had a lot of boxes,” Clemmer said. “The whole process went very well.”

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