Box project aims to help world children

Published 6:00 am Friday, November 16, 2007

At a time of year where most children’s thoughts turn to listsof the latest toys and games they want to receive from Santa, thereare children all over the world who might receive nothing if notfor the generosity of a program that tries to put a present in thehands of every child at Christmas time.

Organizers of Operation Christmas Child are asking localresidents to personally package shoeboxes with toys and gifts. Theshoeboxes will be sent overseas by whatever means necessary -whether it be boats, trucks, trains, aircraft, and even camels anddog sleds.

Southern Mississippi Area Team Coordinator Lola Holifield said whatmakes the program just a little different than other charitygift-giving projects at this time of year is that it is sometimesable to reach areas other groups can’t reach.

“I talked to one of the ladies who gave out shoeboxes in Romania,and sometimes this is the only thing these children receive,” shesaid. “It’s the only box they get – often not just at Christmas,but throughout the entire year.”

She said while there are many charity projects at Christmas time,Operation Christmas Child just spreads the love throughout theglobe.

“Here in America we have so much, and there are so many differentprograms that are helping and giving,” she said. “These boxes aregoing to places that they will not receive other gifts, and thatmakes it a little different.”

Holifield said Operation Christmas Child volunteers will collectthe items, which can be dropped off at Monticello Baptist Church inMonticello and First Baptist Church in Brookhaven, will be pickedup on Monday, Nov. 19.

The boxes should contain new toys, school supplies, necessity andhygiene items, candy and even a personal letter and pictures of theperson or family that packed the box, Holifield said. She said themost important thing to consider when packing the boxes isoriginality.

“Be creative,” she said. “I even ask them to pray about what goesin that box.”

One little 10-year-old girl who had been walking to school withbags on her feet because she didn’t have adequate shoes received abox with shoes that fit her perfectly last year, Holifieldsaid.

“That’s not something you typically send, but the person thatpacked that box just did,” she said. “If you’re impressed to putsomething weird in there, it’s going to to get to the right person,you can count on it.”

She said the boxes can be wrapped, decorated, spray painted orwhatever else it takes to make it appealing, but the group asksthat it not be huge. The children will share, however, when theneed arises.

“In this culture, whatever they have they share,” she said. “Thisone girl got a huge lollipop, and since the other children didn’thave one, she opened it up and passed it around and everyone got alick. They’re eager to share what they have with everyoneelse.”