International relief organization Samaritan’s Purse provides partners around the world with shoebox gifts through Operation Christmas Child. The boxes can be filled with items and are given to children in need in countries around the world.
National Collection Week is November 15th through 22nd. There are multiple area drop-off locations with varied hours. They include the First Baptist Church in Trenton, Cornerstone Church in Chillicothe, First Baptist Church in Pattonsburg, Trinity United Methodist Church in Brookfield, First Baptist Church in Corydon, Iowa, Southside Baptist Church in Carrollton, Hamilton Street and Rehoboth Baptist churches in Kirksville, and Crossroads Christian Church in Macon.
Spokesperson David Hogan says the project shares God’s love in a tangible way with children to let them know they are loved and not forgotten. He notes some of the boxes go to areas where preachers and missionaries are not allowed.
Spokesperson Belinda Hogan explains that after receiving shoeboxes, many recipients are invited to enroll in The Greatest Journey, which is a 12-lesson discipleship program.
David Hogan encourages people packing shoeboxes to pray about the items going into them. Item suggestions include school supplies, hygiene items, accessories, personal notes, and photos of the person packing the gift and that person’s family.
Belinda Hogan mentions there are certain items not allowed to be packed.
Medicated bandages are also not permitted. David Hogan says plastic or cardboard shoeboxes can be used. Standard medium-sized shoeboxes are preferred. Preprinted boxes are available online.
There is a suggested donation of $9 per box. That pays for collection, processing, and shipping. It also provides for ministry materials like The Greatest Gift gospel book and The Ministry Partner Guide.
David Hogan suggests that someone who is unable to include $9 for a box consider asking a church group or family member to sponsor it.
Belinda Hogan notes that if someone donates 10 boxes, that person can write one check for $90 and put it in one box. Credit cards are also accepted online. She says someone can follow a box and know where it is delivered if a donation form is completed online.
Shoeboxes are shipped from processing centers by the middle of December, but David Hogan comments few arrive to children by Christmas.
Belinda Hogan says one way to get involved with Operation Christmas Child is for children, families, churches, and community groups to pack shoeboxes and leave them at drop-off locations from November 15th through 22nd.
This is the eighth year for the collection at the First Baptist Church in Trenton. Belinda Hogan reports 1,703 shoeboxes were collected at the church last year, which is the most ever collected there. Almost 10,000 boxes were collected in the Northeast Missouri area last year, which she states exceeded the area goal.
David Hogan says if someone misses National Collection Week, he or she can build a box online.
Belinda Hogan says it costs $25 to build a box online.
Individuals can also become year-round volunteers, which are what the Hogans are. They can also go to one of the eight processing centers to inspect and prepare shoeboxes for overseas shipment from the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to mid-December. Belinda Hogan says online registration should start soon.
Anyone interested in helping with the collection at the First Baptist Church in Trenton can contact Belinda Hogan on Facebook or by calling 660-339-7748. More information on drop-off locations and other resources are available on the Samaritan’s Purse website.