Shoebox global ministry nearing collection date

Sandy Brown (left) and Sissy Scott organized the contributed shoeboxes last year at First Baptist Church. The countdown for this year’s shoebox sendoff has begun for people to pack shoeboxes with Christmas gifts for children around the world.

Several churches and families across the nation are taking part in Operation Christmas Child, where participants pack gifts in shoeboxes to send to millions of children around the world.

The dates for people to bring their packed shoeboxes to area collection centers will begin Monday and run through Nov. 23.

Dropoff locations can be found online at samaritanspurse.org, along with the dates and times they will be open. Regional collection centers are at First Baptist Church of Princeton at 300 W. Main St., First Presbyterian Church of Madisonville, First Baptist Church of Greenville and Olivet Baptist Church in Herndon in Christian County.

First Baptist Church of Princeton at 300 W. Main St. will take completed shoeboxes from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday and on Nov. 18; from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 17, 20 and 21; from 4 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 19; from 2 to 4 p.m. on Nov. 22; and from 8 to 10 a.m. on Nov. 23.

The other three collection centers will bring their boxes to Princeton, where they will be loaded onto trucks and shipped to Charlotte, North Carolina, to the processing center, where they will be inspected before being shipped to children around the world.

Susan Randolph, who has volunteered locally with Operation Christmas Child for several years, said there will be a drive-up dropoff at First Baptist Church, where people drive to the Christian Life Center on Cave Street to deliver their gifts.

“We will have our people going out and getting them out of their vehicles,” she said. “It’s all curb-side — gloves and masks and all that.”

Samaritan’s Purse, which coordinates the national effort, is committed to its mission of reaching millions of children across the globe with hope.

“Now more than ever, these boys and girls need to know God loves them,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “Operation Christmas Child delivers the hope found only in Jesus Christ.”

The Samaritan’s Purse project has been collecting and delivering shoebox gifts — filled with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys — to children worldwide for more than two decades.

Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, 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 178 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.