Christmas ‘Shoebox’ May Be Only Gift a Child Receives

Post a Comment » Written on November 21st, 2008     
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LIVERPOOL, NY (November 21, 2008) – Glennifer Mosher recalls the words of a former attendee at Redeemer Covenant Church (RCC) who offered proof of how important a small gift can be.

She was originally from the Middle East and received a shoebox filled with Christmas gifts sent through Operation Christmas Child (OCC). For years, she slept with it under her pillow,” Mosher says. “It probably was her pillow.”

BoxesMosher adds, “It was the first gift she ever got.”

RCC is one of many Covenant churches across the country participating this week in the ministry operated by Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian international relief agency. Covenant World Relief also has partnered with Samaritan’s Purse on various projects.

Other Covenant churches contributing to the ministry include Internationals Falls Covenant Church in International Falls, Minnesota; Hope Evangelical Covenant Church in Grand Forks, North Dakota; the Evangelical Covenant Church in Wausa, Nebraska; and Community Covenant Church in Santa Cruz, California. Crossroads Covenant Church in Forest Lake, Minnesota, serves as a relay center for the area.

Churches participating in OCC collect shoeboxes filled with gifts, including toys, toiletries, school supplies and other items. They are then sent to impoverished countries around the world.

PackingSamaritan’s Purse has delivered more than 61 million boxes since it began the project in 1993. This year, the ministry hopes to collect eight million boxes from five countries worldwide.

Redeemer has worked with the ministry for seven years, says Mosher, who coordinates the effort. The church does more than collect boxes from its members; it is the collection center for central New York State.

Over the course of a week, the church receives 10,000 boxes from relay centers, packs them into cartons of 14-23 boxes each, and then loads them into a 48-foot semi-trailer. The trucks then bring the containers to a processing center in North Carolina.

Several members have traveled to Boone, North Carolina, to help other volunteers go through each of the shoeboxes and make sure all of the gifts are appropriate, add items as needed. Each year, tens of thousands of volunteers help at the processing center, which has had to turn some volunteers away because they already had enough workers, Mosher said. “There was a lady here who wanted to go down, but she couldn’t get in.”

Truck“I have incredible volunteers,” Mosher says, adding that people of all ages and from outside the church help to load the containers and trucks. Over the years, they have mastered the art of getting the boxes ready for shipping.

“When the shoeboxes arrive, we can put them in containers and on the truck within 20 minutes,” Mosher boasts.

That has posed a problem, however. The boxes get on the trucks so fast, few people have the opportunity to see how well the project is doing.

Taking an idea from another congregation, the church has started keeping out 100 shoeboxes each day with which they are constructing a castle. That also has posed a problem.

“It fell down today, so we’re having to build it again,” Mosher says, laughing. “We have 400 boxes.”

Samaritan’s Purse also asks people to send $7 per box to help with shipping costs. For the first time, people can pay online and print out a tracking receipt to place on the shoebox. Donors can then follow where the shoeboxes ultimately arrive.

Mosher says Redeemer donates to OCC because, “These kids have nothing.” This year, they will have a Christmas gift.

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