BY BRUCE BRANUM
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.
Yves Dushime, a spokesperson for OCC, recently spoke to a group of 30 plus attendees at Southside Baptist Church on Friday, Oct. 1.
Dushime was born to a family of eight in a refugee camp in Congo. His family fled from the ripple effects of the Rwandan genocide and moved to several countries before coming to the United States.
During the moves from country to country, due to the strife they encountered, Dushime said his heart grew hardened and angry.
When he was 11 years old, he received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift in Togo, Africa. In that box he found a note on small piece of paper that changed his life forever.
Dushime explained the note read, “God loves you. Jesus loves you. I love you.”
He added, “That changed me. I would not be the person I am without someone like you. I would not be where I am without you.
“God used a piece of paper to reach in the depths my being and find the tiny bit of good that was left in there and bring it to the surface. Think what good he can do with a shoebox filled with gifts.
“With every shoebox, you are bringing hope into the some of the most hopeless places in the world.”
His favorite gift from his shoebox was a scarf. He also explained that toothbrushes and pencils were some of the most popular items a child could receive.
This year, the goal of OCC is to reach more than 9.7 million children. OCC collected 1040 from boxes from the Greenville area last year. Angie Meridith, with the First Presbyterian Church in Greenville and also a volunteer for OCC, said their goal for 2021 is to collect 1,300 boxes.
The Match and Mix Building in front of Southside Baptist Church will serve as Butler County’s location for drop-off items from November 15-22.
Boxes can include hygiene items, school supplies, toys, and clothing, but do not include glass items, liquids such as shampoos, items with expiration dates such as toothpaste and candy, and war related items.
Meridith said, “The joy of a child who receives a shoebox at Christmas is unmeasurable and shows that someone cares for them and loves them in the name of Jesus.”
She added that if there is anything she can do to assist you and/or your church in packing shoeboxes or transporting your boxes to please call her at 334-525-0808.