Start packing now

Published 7:54 pm Monday, September 13, 2010

One local church already has been taking action this month to help make some children’s Christmases merrier ones.

The Somerton Friends Meeting has been preparing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child for several years. The ministry of Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse charity collects millions of shoeboxes filled with gifts from several nations and distributes them to children in need throughout the world.

With the boxes, the ministry passes out literature in the children’s own language about the gift of Jesus Christ, and does follow-up ministries in every community so that the children come to know Christ as a God of all seasons, not just one to be celebrated around the holidays.

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While the Somerton Friends Meeting has been preparing shoeboxes for years, members realized they needed help this year. The women of the church were dipping into their own pockets to buy small toys, toiletries, stuffed animals, school supplies, shoes and clothes to fit into the boxes, and wrapping paper to decorate them with.

That’s when Raiford Baker, head trustee of the church and a motorcycle lover, got the idea to hold a charity motorcycle ride.

It was a success, bringing in enough money to fill roughly 40 shoeboxes and pay the $7 per box donation requested by Operation Christmas Child to help defray the costs of shipping the boxes, printing the evangelical materials and doing the follow-up ministry.

It was also a good example of interdenominational cooperation, because the Southside Baptist Church praise band provided music for the picnic that followed the motorcycle ride.

I would encourage everyone who has about $20 to spare in the next couple of months to pack a box for Operation Christmas Child. Several local churches in several areas of the city act as transfer sites locally, so you won’t have to drive very far to drop it off.

National collection week is in November, so start buying stuff now. Get more information at