Columbiana First Baptist collects shoeboxes

By SASHA JOHNS / Community Columnist

If you have heard of Operation Christmas Child, and have always wanted to put together a Christmas Shoebox that will make its way to a child in need somewhere across the globe, Columbiana First Baptist encourages you to make this year the year you start a new tradition.

Samaritan’s Purse is a non-denominational evangelical organization that started in the 1970s and reaches out to victims of war and poverty around the world.

Perhaps it is best known for its yearly undertaking of Operation Christmas Child, a month-long charity event that asks participants and churches all across the United States to gather a list of items to fill a shoebox with.

These shoeboxes, filled with both necessities and fun, are gathered locally and then shipped to Operation Christmas Child Headquarters in Atlanta. From there, they are shipped to children in need all around the world each year for Christmas.

Columbiana First Baptist has participated in OCC for seven years.

Starting on Nov. 18, they will open their doors to begin collecting shoeboxes from all over the community.

Shoeboxes can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 18-Nov. 23, as well as on Sunday, Nov. 24 from 3-5 p.m.

The final day to drop off a shoebox is Monday, Nov. 25 from 8-10 a.m.

Elizabeth Shelton, dropoff team leader for FBCC, has been involved with Operation Christmas Child herself since she was in college.

In addition to coordinating her local dropoff, she also organizes a group from her church each year to go to OCC headquarters in Atlanta to volunteer.

“This ministry of Operation Christmas Child provides us with the opportunity to truly be the hands and feet of Jesus across the globe,” Shelton said. “Seeing the faces of our children as they realize the joy of serving others is a special gift. I believe that intentionally living a missional lifestyle is a vital part of our calling as followers of Jesus.”

If you would like to pack a shoebox this year, you can find more information about how to do so by visiting Samaritanspurse.org and clicking on “Operation Christmas Child.”

You can also reach out to Elizabeth Shelton at (205) 669-3128.

How does Pastor Mike Miller feel about his church working with OCC?

“We are glad to make Operation Christmas Child a priority because it fits so well with the mission of our church,” he said. “We are here to demonstrate the love of God by meeting the needs of people both locally and around the world. Operation Christmas Child enables us to effectively fulfill this mission.”