By SHERRY DIGMON
News Staff Writer
You might think it’s too early to think about Christmas – but it isn’t. Not if you’re planning to fill shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Again this year, Mary Jane Schrock is serving as Area Coordinator, AL Tri-County Area for Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child.
“There’s still plenty of time to fill shoeboxes,” she said. “Anyone wanting a box or boxes may pick them up at Grace Fellowship or we’ll deliver them to a church.”
If you don’t want to fill a box, Mary Jane has the following suggestions.
1. Donate $9 which covers the cost of shipping and helps in training (more about that later in this article).
2. If you have a friend who likes to shop, give them the money to buy items for a shoebox.
3. Build a box online. Go to Samaritan’s Purse website and look for the Build a Box Online option.
While there’s still time, there’s not unlimited time. Collection dates are only a few weeks away. The goal for this area is 8,000 shoeboxes.
While the shoeboxes provide gifts for children in more than 100 countries, there’s more here than material gifts.
“Every shoebox is a gospel opportunity,” Mary Jane said. “Samaritan’s Purse states that of 100 children who receive shoeboxes, 16 come to the Lord.”
Included in every box is a booklet, The Greatest Gift, in the child’s language, that tells the story of Jesus. Every child is invited to take classes called The Greatest Journey, a 12-lesson program. When a child completes the program, he or she gets a New Testament in their own language.
“This is often even more far reaching,” Mary Jane said. “Sometimes parents don’t know how to read, and the kids take the gospel story to their families. It gives purpose to the shoebox.”
The $9 mentioned earlier pays for shipping the boxes but a portion is also used to train teachers at every location where shoeboxes are distributed. They teach in the children’s same culture, in the same language.
When you’re packing your shoebox, please remember the following items should NOT be included: candy; toothpaste; gum; used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures; chocolate or food; seeds; fruit rolls or other fruit snacks; drink mixes (powdered or liquid); liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.
You can find gift suggestions on the Samaritan’s Purse website.
Collection dates are Nov. 12-19 at Grace Fellowship, 1412 E. Nashville Avenue, Atmore. Following is the schedule:
Monday, Nov. 12: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 13: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 14: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 14: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 15: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 16: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 17: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Sunday, Nov. 18: 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 19: 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.
For more information, contact Mary Jane Schrock at firstname.lastname@example.org or 251-655-7983.