Churches gear up for Operation Christmas Child

Published 12:01 am Thursday, October 24, 2019

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham.

The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world. The tool used is a shoebox gift packed in our local community and distributed to needy children around the world sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ through a book that Samaritan’s Purse adds to each shoebox called, “The Greatest Journey.”

Since 1993 Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 168 million shoeboxes to children in over 160 countries and territories. For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received.

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What goes into the shoebox is fun, but what comes out is eternal. As children receive the gift-filled shoeboxes they hear the Gospel. Many churches, schools and organizations in our area pack shoebox gifts each year to bless children in need around the world.

God will use you to help change a child’s eternity. Each shoebox gift that is packed, gives churches throughout the world an opportunity to share the Gospel with those they might not otherwise have an opportunity to meet.

Upwards of 40% of the children receiving a shoebox are orphans. As a result of what they learn in “The Greatest Journey,” boys and girls grow in Christ and share the Gospel with friends and family. Families are reached, churches grow, new churches are started and communities are transformed.

Last year the Natchez area packed and shipped 2,949 shoeboxes! This year our goal is 3,500. Everyone in the community can contribute to the success of the 2019 Natchez shoebox campaign for Operation Christmas Child!

You can be a part of what God is doing through Operation Christmas Child by packing a shoebox. Take a minute to write a hand written note about yourself and our community and include a picture and place the note in each shoebox you pack. Check the website for Samaritan’s Purse or Operation Christmas Child to get ideas of the kinds of items to be included in a shoebox. No liquids, lotions, military toys, toothpaste or food items can be included.

National collection week is Nov. 18-25. During national collection week for the past 12 years, Parkway Baptist Church has served as the drop-off center in our area. If you would like more information about getting a shoebox packing party started in your group or church or would like to volunteer your time at the drop off center during national collection week, contact Diane Lazarus at, Beth Dudley at, Diane Willard at, Regina Mize at, Mary Harris at or Beverly Laurant at Any of these ladies would be honored to come speak with your church or organization or give you information on how you can help.

New Covenant Presbyterian Church will be hosting an afternoon fundraiser for Operation Christmas Child at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7. Come and enjoy the beautiful music performed by Burnley Cook, Roberta Duhs as only these talented musicians can offer.

Price of admission: Any monetary donation toward the shipping cost of a shoebox, items that can be used in filling a shoebox, a handwritten note from you to a child to be included in a shoebox, or a packed shoebox for a boy or girl. Any of these items is your ticket to a wonderful time of music.

Other area churches are encouraged to announce their packing parties or fundraisers in the Tracings or church social media sites.

BETH DUDLEY is a team member of the Natchez Drop Off Center for Operation Christmas Child.