BY MOLLIE S. WATERS
The Greenville Standard
Although Christmas is still many weeks away, it is time for those who are interested in taking part in Operation Christmas Child (OCC) to get their shoeboxes filled with goodies in order to ship them to underserved children in developing countries across the world.
According to the OCC website, OCC is part of the larger service program called Samaritan’s Purse.
Samaritan’s Purse was started as a ministry in 1970 by Bob Pierce. Pierce, who passed away from leukemia in 1978, had his mission continued by Graham Franklin.
Since his time as president and chairman of the board of the organization, Franklin has had the chance to utilize Samaritan’s Purse in unexpected ways.
“Through over 30 years of earthquakes, hurricanes, wars, and famine,” the website states, “Franklin has led the ministry in following the Biblical example of the Good Samaritan all across the globe. God has blessed the organization under Franklin’s leadership, and the ministry has seen explosive growth.”
One of the ways Samaritan’s Purse has grown is through the addition of the OCC program.
Started in 1993, the OCC program has delivered over 135 million shoeboxes worldwide filled with gifts for children.
According to the OCC website, “The world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, Operation Christmas Child, uses gift-filled shoeboxes to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world.”
This year’s collection week for shoeboxes is Nov. 13-20. Locally, shoeboxes can be dropped off at the First Presbyterian Church in Greenville.
Drop off dates and times are Nov. 13, 16, and 17 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; Nov. 15 from 3 p.m.-5 p.m.; Nov. 18 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.; Nov. 19 from 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m.; and Nov. 20 from 8 a.m.-10 a.m.
Suggested items for inclusion in shoeboxes are new toys, personal hygiene products, and school supplies. It costs $9 per box for shipping.
For more information, including how to pack a shoebox, visit the OCC website at https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/pack-a-shoe-box/.