Church serves as box drop-off

Published 12:01 am Saturday, November 17, 2007

Natchez — A single, wrapped shoe box doesn’t sound like much of a Christmas gift. Most children probably don’t dream of the sort of toys that will fit inside.

But this holiday season, thousands of children around the world will look upon a single, wrapped box with excitement. With the help of volunteers, Operation Christmas Child will deliver toys and a message of God’s love to needy children.

Volunteers across the Miss-Lou have bought toys and packed boxes with the hopes of reaching as many children as possible. Parkway Baptist Church in Natchez is one of many groups nationwide serving as a shoe box drop-off location.

Email newsletter signup

Church member Diane Lazarus is heading the effort to collect boxes at Parkway and said she feels this is something God wanted her to do.

“This is a way to be a missionary across the world without leaving home,” she said. “This is really a ministry that has touched my heart. These children are so thankful to get anything.”

In the past, Parkway has packed boxes, but this is the first year they are serving as a drop-off location. The collected boxes will be delivered to an Operation Christmas Child facility in McComb Monday. The boxes will travel from there to Atlanta before being delivered to the children. Parkway has collected over 600 boxes so far and has hopes to get at least 800, Lazarus said.

Parkway isn’t the only local group getting involved with the Samaritan’s Purse sponsored project. Area schools collected toys and volunteers from several churches are pitching in with the collection effort at Parkway.

“Grace United Methodist Church and First Assembly of God called us and were very excited about helping with this, “ Lazarus said. “It’s not just a Parkway project, but a community-wide effort.”

Lazarus said she would have never been able to organize the drop-off location without the help of these two churches.

“Beverly Laurant with First Assembly was here every day helping,” she said. “It wouldn’t have happened without her.”

The shoe boxes can be packed with a variety of small items. Anything from soap to pencils to small toys will work, Lazaurs said.

The drop-off site at Parkway will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The deadline for donating boxes is Sunday. The program’s Web site, has information on how to prepare a shoe box.