Operation Christmas Child a Global and Local Endeavor

OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD
When: National collection week Nov. 14-21
Where: Local drop-off locations are First Baptist Church, 1333 N. Third St., and Wylie United Methodist Church. 3430 Antilley Road. First Baptist Church, Sweetwater, and Church of the Nazarene, Hamlin
First Baptist drop-off hours: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14; 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15; 2-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16; 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17; 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18; 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19; 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21
Wylie UMC drop-off hours: 12-5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14; 12-4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, Nov. 15-17; 1-5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18; 10 a.m.-noon and 1:30-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19; 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20; 12-3:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21
Contact: Area coordinator is Naomi Wood. For more information or to request materials, contact Wood at 325-660-5633 or abileneareaocc@gmail.com. 
More information about Operation Christmas Child: www.samaritanspurse.org

By LORETTA FULTON

Operation Christmas Child is set to collect its 200-millionth shoebox filled with gifts for children around the world, and Abilene area residents can be a part of it.

Operation Christmas Child was started in 1993 by Samaritan’s Purse. To date, the agency has collected 198 million shoeboxes for children in more than 170 countries and territories. Coordinator for the Abilene area is Naomi Wood, a member of Wylie United Methodist Church. She is feeling the vibe for another successful year.

“I have felt a lot of energy and excitement from groups that are packing shoeboxes,” she said, “and I believe that God has plans to use this ministry in amazing ways once again this year.”

National collection week is Nov. 14-21, and many churches have already handed out shoeboxes for packing. Locally, First Baptist Church and Wylie UMC will serve as collection points for filled shoeboxes during the national collection week. Anyone interested in volunteering at either location can contact the church directly. 

Each drop-off location chooses its format, Wood said, which may be drive-thru or walk-up or a combination of both. Locations will have a QR code to scan for people to fill out their information if they prefer that to paper forms. 

Online boxes can be filled year-round, Wood noted, but shoeboxes built after Dec. 31 will not count in the current year’s shoebox total. The link to build a shoebox online is: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/buildonline/

Instructions for physical and online boxes can be found at https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

You’ll find complete instructions on what is permitted and not permitted in a physical box and how to pack the box. You’ll also find under the online option, gift choices by gender and age range. 

The Abilene area has a goal of 5,750 boxes, compared to the 5,422 collected last year, Wood said. The good news for 2022 is that the supply chain issues that plagued the operation the past two years is gone, at least locally. 

“The supplies we need for this collection season have already been delivered to us,” Wood said, “and we are set to receive shoeboxes at our drop-off locations.”

A $10 donation is requested for both physical and online boxes to pay for shipping and for a discipleship program called “The Greatest Journey.” After receiving shoebox gifts, many children participate in the program. The 12-lesson course held at a local church teaches Bible stories and scripture memorization. The $25 charge for online boxes includes the $10 requested donation. 

Loretta Fulton is editor and Spirit of Abilene

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