Operation Christmas Child drop-off locations announced


‘Tis the season for the Operation Christmas Child shoebox collection once again.

More than 4,000 locations will be offering a curbside drop-off option for the Samaritan’s Purse project this month.

Volunteers at the two drop-off locations in Jackson County are preparing to collect shoebox gifts during National Collection Week from Nov. 16 to 23.

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Shoeboxes will be collected at Medora Wesleyan Church, 191 S. David St., Medora, and Cornerstone Community Church, 1088 Sarasota Drive, Seymour.

Operation Christmas Child has been collecting and delivering shoebox gifts filled with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys to children worldwide since 1993.

Through the program, more than 178 million gift-filled shoeboxes have been delivered to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

Even with COVID-19 restrictions, this is a project that individuals, families and groups can still participate in this year.

“In the midst of the pandemic, the needs are greater than ever before,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “Children around the world need to know that God loves them and there is hope.”

Graham said a simple shoebox gift opens the door to share about the true hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

As the world wrestles with a global pandemic, children need hope now more than ever, he said.

Lisa Hoog, southeast Indiana area coordinator, said it is hard to say if there will be less or more donations this year due to the pandemic.

She said they are hoping and praying for more donations this year, and the goal for southeast Indiana is 12,600 filled shoeboxes.

“In talking with churches, community groups and individuals, there is a great excitement for those who are participating,” Hoog said. “Many people have said they want to do more shoeboxes this year because so many children need hope and love that God can give.”

Hoog said by packing a shoebox full of toys and hygiene items, you are showing a child that God loves them, and it means so much to each child who receives them.

Last year, southeast Indiana collected 12,447 shoeboxes, including 1,581 from Jackson County.

Pam Breeden, the drop-off coordinator for Medora, said 533 shoeboxes were collected at Medora Wesleyan Church last year, and they hope to reach 600 this year.

“Everything has to be done in small groups, so the volunteers are less,” she said. “Plus, everybody is struggling because of the virus, so nobody has the extra cash flow to donate or to purchase items to fill a box.”

Breeden said her church’s goal was to pack 60 shoeboxes themselves, but they exceeded their goal early because of the downtime due to the pandemic.

“That was our main focus during lockdown, and a handful of us ladies worked on it,” she said. “Hopefully, it will be that way in the community and other churches, as well, so we can still meet our goal.”

Breeden said she enjoys being involved in the shoebox project because for a lot of children, this is the only Christmas present they will ever receive.

“There are tons of videos out there that show the excitement of these children opening these boxes,” she said. “So we are able to meet a need as well as to give during Christmastime and to tell these people about Jesus.”

For each shoebox, there is a $9 fee. If you don’t want to pay that, you don’t have to and can just drop it off and trust that God will take care of the rest, Breeden said.

She said some people don’t pack a box, but they send money or vice versa, and some do both.

The $9 not only covers the shipping cost of the box, it also includes a Bible in the child’s language and a Bible study guide, so there’s a lot more to it than just a sending a gift.

Rachel Amos, the drop-off coordinator in Seymour, said there were 1,048 shoeboxes dropped off at Cornerstone last year, and this year’s goal is 1,250 boxes.

“I’m sure there have been changes made to groups getting together to pack boxes due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Amos said. “However, 2020 has taught everyone how to adapt and grow with all the changes thrown our way this year.”

Amos said when there is a passion to spread the Gospel, people find ways to make things happen.

“I believe this year, more than any, we need to spread hope, love and the good news of Jesus,” she said. “Children need to know they are loved and not forgotten.”

Amos said the shoebox represents evangelism, as each child has the opportunity to learn about Jesus.

“This project is spreading the Gospel around the world to some of the most hard-to-reach areas,” she said. “I feel this is important as it teaches us to serve others and spread God’s love.”

She said Operation Christmas Child has done a great job adapting to our new normal.

“All drop-off locations will be curbside drop-offs, and Cornerstone will have signage directing donors where to pull in and park,” Amos said. “We will have volunteers outside assisting each donor from their car when they arrive. Donors will not have to get out of their cars, and volunteers will all be wearing the proper PPE, such as masks and gloves.”

Shoeboxes also can be created online this year on the Samaritan’s Purse website, where people can click on items to add to the box and there also is an option to add a personal letter and photo. This allows individuals to pack a shoebox from the comfort of their home, Amos said.

For information on how Operation Christmas Child is making adjustments during its National Collection Week, visit the organization’s Important COVID-19 Updates webpage for the latest information and answers to frequently asked questions.

Important COVID-19 updates, a step-by-step guide on how to pack a shoebox and the option to pay for and create a shoebox online can be found at samaritanspurse.org.

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National Collection Week Nov. 16 to 23

Cornerstone Community Church, 1088 Sarasota Drive Seymour

4 to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 16

9 to 11:30 a.m. Nov. 17

3 to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 18

4 to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19

4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 20

8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Nov. 21

1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 22

9 to 11 a.m. Nov. 23

Medora Wesleyan Church, 191 S. David St., Medora

9 a.m. to noon Nov. 16

4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 17

2 to 5 p.m. Nov. 18

5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 19 and 20

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 21

1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 22

23, 9:30 a.m. to noon Nov. 23

More information

Lisa Hoog, southeast Indiana area coordinator, 812-744-7028

Pam Breeden, drop-off coordinator in Medora, 812-966-2664

Rachel Amos, drop-off coordinator in Seymour, 812-216-3912


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