The Washington Times-Herald

November 16, 2012

Putting thankful hearts into action

By Andrea McCann
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — Volunteers at Washington’s Free Methodist Church have been busy packing shoe boxes filled with gifts for impoverished children around the world.

According to local Operation Christmas Child coordinator Nelson Martin, at least 25 volunteers from Free Methodist and other area churches have been working daily from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. this week to ensure local donations are ready to join those from other collection sites across the United States.

Volunteers wrapped full shoe boxes and filled empty ones with donated items that were dropped off sans box. The shoe boxes are filled with toys, school supplies and other items for children in need worldwide. They may include stuffed animals, dolls, small cars, T-shirts, socks, sunglasses, hair clips, watches, flashlights, solar calculators, crayons and coloring books, toothbrush and toothpaste, and a variety of other items.

The wrapped boxes are then prepared for transport. Ultimately, they’re hand-delivered to hurting children in 100 countries around the world.

“At the present time, we have 1,682 boxes,”  said Martin, who, with his wife, Joyce, shops for bargains year round to contribute.

“I already have things for next year.”

Operation Christmas Child is a year-round project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization. The project has been in place 19 years.

Locally, Operation Christmas Child has been in effect 16 years. This year’s goal is to contribute more than 8,000 shoe boxes toward the global goal of nine million boxes.