Jackson County residents collect school supplies for children overseas


It’s never too early to start gathering items for Operation Christmas Child.

Jackson County residents have begun collecting school supplies, such as pencils, crayons and notebooks, alongside personal care items and fun toys.

Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child is celebrating its 30th year of ministry, said Lizette Miller, Samaritan’s Purse media relations manager.

“As the school year approaches, shoebox packers ​are making use of back-to-school prices to purchase gifts and essential items for children in need around the world,” Miller said. “Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, will deliver these gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 100 countries.”

She said for many children, access to these simple items is essential to an education.

“This was the case for Justin Thomas, a shoebox recipient in Southeast Asia whose parents could not afford the supplies needed for school,” Miller said. “Thomas remembers the specific day he received a gift-filled shoebox from Operation Christmas Child and found it filled with toys and most exciting to him — school supplies.”

Growing up with hand-me-down clothes and used items, Thomas used to write with a pencil so short that he held it using a pen cap. Having an entire packet of new pencils and a pencil sharpener all his own was a treasure to him. This simple gift made a life-changing impact for Thomas because it opened the doors for him to receive an education.

Operation Christmas Child will deliver gift-filled shoeboxes worldwide to boys and girls in need, and in 2023, the organization hopes to collect enough shoeboxes to reach 11 million children.

Joie Curtis of First Baptist Church in Seymour said she already has begun getting school supplies and summer clothes on clearance for the shoebox collections.

“I am attending a workshop on Aug. 18 in Madison,” Curtis said. “They have lots of ideas. Also, the keynote speaker will be a shoebox recipient.”

Tampico Baptist Church member Janette Elliott said her church began collecting school supplies for the shoeboxes around the beginning of August.

“We’ll do that until September. Then we’ll start on other items,” Elliott said. “I know Walmart and some other places are starting to have clearance sales right now getting ready for their new stuff coming in.”

She said her church plans to pack the shoeboxes in November.

“We always enjoy doing it, and last year, I think we packed around 80 boxes at the church,” Elliott said.

National Collection Week is Nov. 13 to 20, and participants may donate $10 per shoebox gift online through Follow Your Box and receive a tracking label to discover its destination.

Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.

Operation Christmas Child seeks to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and together with the local church worldwide to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 209 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 170 countries and territories.

For information, visit samaritanspurse.org/occ.

No posts to display