Written by Darryl Bolen.
The Bible says we are never to grow weary of doing good and here is a chance to do just that. Did you ever see video of children in poverty-stricken areas looking for clean water in mud puddles? Do you remember pictures of mothers trying to find food while living in a shelter in Haiti following an earthquake or in Thailand after a tsunami? Have you wondered how you could help to make at least one child feel happy again?
Samaritan’s Purse is an international relief organization headed by Franklin Graham that allows you to do just that. In addition to working in areas that have been profoundly affected by natural or man-made traumas by providing clean water wells, food, and medical assistance, Samaritan’s Purse takes Christmas to children living in those difficult situations. Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is a project that started in 1993 in the United States with the delivery of 28,000 shoeboxes filled with Christmas gifts. It began as a kids-helping-kids project that has now grown into an international program with over 500,000 volunteers worldwide. In 2011, over 8.6 million shoeboxes were sent to over 150 countries.
This year, OCC is hoping to collect more than last year’s total, which would send the number of boxes collected since that first year to over 100 million. By land, air, sea, and camel are how the deliveries are made to children living in some of the most remote areas on the earth. Children who have never seen city lights will receive a box with a stuffed toy and school supplies. Families who are living in refurbished cargo trailers in formerly Eastern Block countries will open a shoebox with hats, mittens, washcloths, and soap. On top of each gift is the story of Jesus, written in each child’s language with colorful illustrations.Ankhtuya, living in meagerly populated Mongolia, and Ralph, whose home with his parents and six siblings is by the city dump in the Philippines, both received gifts packed last year by Christian people who want to make at least one child feel happy again.
The Samaritan’s Purse website (www.samaritanspurse.org) has guidelines about what is appropriate to include and items that should not be sent (liquids, war-related toys, or perishable foods). There is also a label to download to place on your box, identifying the box as for a boy or a girl and the age for which the gifts are suitable. Shipping is $7, which can be included in the box or paid online to receive a barcode label. The label will be scanned when it arrives at the shipping center and the donor will receive an e-mail identifying the destination country of the box. International Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child will be from November 12-18, 2012, and Greenville First Christian Church is a Relay Center.
For more information on how you can help, call 664-0652 or contact Sally Bolen.