National Collection Week for Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child is November 13th through 20th.
Belinda and David Hogan are Operation Christmas Child Church Relation team members. Belinda Hogan explains Samaritan’s Purse’s mission is to provide partners with shoeboxes filled with items as a way to reach children. She says Operation Christmas Child shares God’s love and the gospel in a tangible way with children in need around the world.
David Hogan explains a 12-lesson discipleship training program is offered to children after they receive shoebox gifts.
Children who complete the program receive a certificate and a copy of a New Testament Bible in their language.
David Hogan says the shoeboxes are given at events, and children do not know they will receive gifts.
Belinda Hogan says items in shoeboxes can include toys, school supplies, hygiene items, hair accessories, and personal notes. There should be a “wow item” in a box, like a soccer ball with a pump or a doll. Gift suggestions are available at samaritanspurse.org/occ. A list of items that cannot be put into boxes is also online.
David Hogan explains customs in some countries develop a list of items not allowed in those countries. He notes the most common items not allowed in boxes are candy and other food, toothpaste, used or damaged items, anything war related, pocket knives, drink mixes, liquids, lotions, medications and vitamins, anything breakable, and aerosol cans.
Belinda Hogan says any shoebox can be used. Operation Christmas Child prefers standard, medium-sized boxes.
Operation Christmas Child sells shoeboxes online.
Belinda Hogan mentions that some plastic boxes donors buy break when they get to a colder climate, or the lids will not stay on them.
There is a suggested donation of $10 per box. David Hogan says shipping takes a large part of that donation.
Belinda Hogan says donors can pay for shipping online and get a code to follow their boxes. This allows donors to know where their boxes are delivered.
Shoeboxes can also be built online for $25.
Belinda Hogan reports some gifts get to children before Christmas, like in Central and South America and Eastern Europe. Other gifts do not get to children before Christmas because of international shipping delays.
One Operation Christmas Child drop-off location is the First Baptist Church of Trenton. Belinda Hogan reports the church collected 1,786 boxes last year, and it expects to exceed 2,000 boxes this year.
She says a new drop-off location is the Milan Christian Church. Other drop-off locations are in Pattonsburg, Polo, Chillicothe, and Carrollton. They have different hours during National Collection Week November 13th through 20th. Drop-off locations and their hours can be found online.
Belinda Hogan encourages children, families, schools, churches, and community groups to pack shoeboxes. A packing party will be at the Rural Dale Baptist Church near Trenton November 5th at 5 o’clock.
David Hogan says there are many ways someone can volunteer for Operation Christmas Child. Individuals can help at drop-off locations or go to a processing center to get boxes ready for shipment. Volunteer opportunities are listed online.
Go to samaritanspurse.org/occ for more information. Belinda and David Hogan can also be contacted by phone. Belinda’s phone number is 660-339-7748, and David’s is 660-635-0701.