Churches throughout Kilgore and East Texas have jumped feet-first into Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week, and hundreds of boxes are making their way to Forest Home Baptist Church.
The congregation’s volunteers, led by Kim Gore, officially cut the ribbon on their shoebox collection station Monday outside the Annex Building at 15746 CR 173.
“We appreciate you being here so much,” Gore told the helpers, happily noting they had plenty of work already thanks to Eastview Baptist Church’s early drop-off of 234 boxes, building on last year’s 168. All-told, “Last year we collected 1,572 boxes from area churches.
For 2019, “I’ve heard good numbers from churches. All our numbers are up. Hopefully we’ll get lots of shoeboxes.”
An annual outreach by Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child distributes millions of gift-boxes around the world every year. Globally, the 2019 target for the effort is 11 million packages for children.
Kilgore is part of the project’s Sabine River Area, encompassing five counties: Gregg, Rusk, Harrison, Upshur and Panola. Last year, combined efforts in the district collected 15,651 shoeboxes full of toys, toiletries, supplies and other small gifts.
From Operation Christmas Child’s basic instructions: first, find a shoebox of average size then decide whether the gift is for a girl or a boy and determine the intended age range (2-5, 5-9 or 10-14). Third, fill it with gifts – “Select a medium to large ‘wow’ item such as a soccer ball with pump or stuffed animal, then fill with other fun toys, hygiene items and school supplies.”
Pray over the box, organizers encourage, and drop it off at a location by Nov. 25.
For more, specific instructions and helpful hints, log on to tinyurl.com/shoeboxpacking.
It’s the third year Forest Home has served as a collection site. Volunteers will be taking contributions through noon, Monday, Nov. 25, before taking the lot to Longview where they’ll be loaded onto cargo trucks for transport to the next large-scale hub in Dallas.
Learn more about Kilgore’s collection site by calling Forest Home at 903-984-2117. Reach Gore at 903-987-2857.
Supporters can also contribute to the worldwide effort by donating online.
For more information about Operation Christmas Child, call 903-790-1290 or log on to samaritanspurse.org/occ.