Almost 1,000 children will receive a box of gifts this Christmas, thanks to the generosity of area residents.
This year, Faith Community Church, of Waupaca, served as the area relay center for Operation Christmas Child.
In all, a total of 972 boxes were collected here this year.
Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, which was founded by Franklin Graham and is involved in dozens of children’s relief projects throughout the world.
The typical shoe box is packed with school supplies, toiletries, a soft toy, games, hardy candy and articles of clothing.
Last year, about 8.5 million shoe boxes were packed in 13 countries.
Often, the children who receive these boxes are orphans, children who have experienced loss through natural disasters or children who live in worn-torn countries.
The program is designed so that each child receives one shoe box in his lifetime.
Sharon Conjurske, global outreach director at Faith Community Church, said the church has participated in Operation Christmas Child for several years.
This was the first year the church served as the relay center where people dropped off their boxes.
“Collection week was such a fun time for us at Faith, watching the stacks of boxes grow, filling up our church library. Nine area churches and schools brought their boxes to our site, as well as many individual donors,” she said. “We received 764 shoeboxes, and St Mary Magdalene, of Waupaca, collected another 208, bringing the total shoe box gifts from our area to 972 boxes.”
Most of the boxes from this area will go to India and Zambia.
“I can only imagine the smiles on the faces of those children when they receive their box, open it up and enjoy its contents. Thank you to everyone who participated by packing a box or volunteering their time,” Conjurske said. “Faith Community Church is looking forward to being a relay center again next year.”