Shoeboxes bring children gifts, hope

By Melissa Futrell,
Susquehannock High School

Every November, I pack a shoebox full of small gifts and send it across the world to a needy child. I participate in Operation Christmas Child, an organization sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse.

Operation Christmas Child and I share the same goal. It is to not only to bless thousands of children with possibly the first Christmas gift they have ever received, but also to send hope and a chance for children to receive an eternal home in heaven. It’s one of my favorite parts of the holiday season because it emphasizes what really matters during Christmas: giving.

Never have I come away from doing something feeling so happy and blessed to give freely than through this amazing event. Running through Wal-Mart and Dollar Tree trying to find the perfect toy or the most colorful pencils to pack into my shoebox has brought such joy into my heart. The pure joy I receive from sending a simple shoebox comes from knowing the huge impact it will have on the boy or girl who receives it.

Wherever the boy or girl lives — in whatever state of poverty they might be in — they will, possibly for the first time, come to know that someone cares for them. Not only does the person who packed the shoebox care for them, but more importantly, the creator of the universe loves them, too.

Dave Cooke started Operation Christmas Child after he saw on TV the horror of abandoned children in Romanian orphanages. In 1990, he asked friends to help fill a truck with toys. He raised support from his family, friends and community and brought the children toys and other resources weeks before Christmas. In 1995, the ministry merged with Samaritan’s Purse with the goal of expanding the mission.

This year, Operation Christmas Child aims to reach a milestone of 100 million shoeboxes sent to more than 15 countries since 1993.

About Matt Eyer

Assistant Features Editor at the York Daily Record/Sunday News. Read my (mostly ancient Greece-related) books reviews at Book Buzz. Follow me on Twitter @mjeyer.
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