Operation Christmas Child gives community chance to help children in need
COLUMBIA - Families filled empty shoeboxes with hygiene products, school supplies, clothes, shoes and toys for children in need at The Crossing church Friday night.
Michelle Hale, area coordinator for the Central Missouri Operation Christmas Child, said, "When they open these boxes up, it is seriously like God's love and joy flowing out of the box. It gives these children a little bit of hope in some hopeless situations."
Operation Christmas Child was created by Samaritan's Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization. If someone who packs a shoebox wants to know where it's going, they donate $9 to Samaritan's Purse.
The project has been in operation for 25 years and sends the boxes worldwide. Children receiving the items range from ages 2-14 years old.
Renee Munns organized the packing party and brought several bins filled with items from past events.
After people pack the boxes, they pray over them and drop them off with the hope of helping children in need and spreading the gospel of Jesus.
"I actually got to go to Tanzania a couple of year ago, and I got to see first hand the conditions that these kids are in and how excited they are to hear about Jesus," Hale said.
Some families have been volunteering for more than 10 years and felt it was necessary to teach their children about the act of giving.
"I think it helps us all to think about something beyond ourselves, and it's never to early to instill that in a person," volunteer Lori Fox said.
Community members can pack shoeboxes and drop them off at a one of several churches in the mid-Missouri area until Monday. Samaritan's Purse provides maps to drop off locations based on zip codes and cities.
Drop-off locations in Columbia are: The Crossing church, Parkade Baptist Church and Prairie Grove Baptist Church.
People can also build a box online.