Local community kicks off Operation Christmas Child

Volunteers from Claiborne, Union and surrounding counties will gather to kick off the Operation Christmas Child collection season. Four local Baptist Associations will join, for the first time, in a community event to celebrate participating churches and equip those new to the Samaritan’s Purse project. The community is invited to the kick-off event on Sept. 18 at 6 p.m., to be held in the Claiborne High School Auditorium. Chick-fil-A will be provided.

Guest speakers Pastor Mark and Cherry Brumbelow, from Grace Baptist Church in Wild Peach, Texas, will share their story of how their congregation lost their homes due to flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Despite devastation and loss, their small church of 30 packed over 8,000 shoebox gifts. The couple will share how God was faithful in the midst of tragedy. Also, Yuliya Shubina, a shoebox recipient from Central Asia, will share her story of God’s faithfulness in her life and how she was impacted, first-hand, by receiving a shoebox gift at 9 years old.

For many years, local residents have been a part of Operation Christmas Child, a global project that shares the true meaning of Christmas with millions of boys and girls around the world. This year, they aim to pack more than 10,300 shoeboxes with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items. These gift-filled shoeboxes will contribute to the project’s goal of reaching more than 11 million children in Jesus’ Name.

Local drop-off locations will be the first stop on a journey across the globe for thousands of gifts packed by local families. Together with the church worldwide, Operation Christmas Child will deliver these gifts to children in need overseas using whatever means necessary—boats, airplanes, trains and even elephants.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call Amie Winstead at (865) 742-9701 or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.

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 and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 157 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.