Operation Christmas Child kicks off
Published 10:51 am Tuesday, October 27, 2015
In many ways, the season of giving has already begun. Churches and other organizations around the nation are preparing to participate in Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child. In Brookhaven, First Baptist Church is the place to drop off shoeboxes full of gifts for children around the world.
“[Boxes can contain] school supplies, toys — nothing liquid can go in the boxes,” First Baptist Education and Music Secretary Connie Hodges said. “Candy, but nothing chocolate.
“We like to say ‘hygiene,’ but then people get confused and put shampoo and stuff. So it’s more like soap, or toothpaste [and a] toothbrush. You can put a shirt in there.”
Samaritan’s Purse suggests that the box contain one big item that a child can see immediately upon opening it. They also suggest adding a note and photo to go in the box.
Samaritan’s Purse specifically warns against adding any war-related items like toy guns or military figures. The boxes should not contain any perishables, chocolate, out-of-date candy, medications, vitamins, or breakables.
Boxes should be marked depending on whether the toys are tailored for boys or girls, and one of three age ranges: 2-4, 5-9, and 10-14.
Hodges said the boxes should contain $7 for shipping and handling. First Baptist Church, like other drop-off points for Operation Christmas Child, will be taking boxes during Samaritan’s Purse’s National Collection Week Nov. 16-23. First Baptist will take boxes between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Hodges said they may take a few during the weekend, but people should call and make an appointment first.
Hodges said they do not open or sort through boxes. First Baptist will ship the boxes to Southwest Mississippi Community College in Summit, where they will be shipped to a processing center in Atlanta.
Samaritan’s Purse said in a fact sheet that 124 million shoeboxes have been delivered since 1993, and they hope to ship 11 million more this year.