Though she would have loved to have seen more shoeboxes donated locally through the Operation Christmas Child program, Christy Williams said Monday evening that she knows each one of the boxes will …
Though she would have loved to have seen more shoeboxes donated locally through the Operation Christmas Child program, Christy Williams said Monday evening that she knows each one of the boxes will put smiles on the faces of children who receive them.
The Operation Christmas Child collection, scheduled for Nov. 13-20, finished collecting shoeboxes for kids in impoverished countries Monday. Several of the days during the collection week were extremely busy with volunteers packing the shoeboxes into larger containers that will go toward distribution by Samaritan's Purse.
"Today was a little slower than most of the days, but all in all, the project has gone well," Williams said. She said that several individuals dropped off boxes on the final day of collection, which were added to the shoeboxes collected at local churches and at Lee University.
Her husband, Stuart Williams, who was central dropoff coordinator for the project, said between 22,000 and 23,500 boxes were packed and ready to travel to Charlotte today. He felt that this was a great total of donations for the year.
Christy Williams, who served as the logistics coordinator, said it would have been even more, but two of the larger churches were moved from the Cleveland district to Chattanooga. Regardless, those donations will be added to the donations from Cleveland, and many children will benefit.
She noted that Lee University packed over 3,300 boxes, while North Cleveland Baptist Church and Candies Creek Baptist Church had a large number of donations. Williams also said that First Baptist Church, which was the dropoff site for the boxes, also had a substantial amount of boxes packed and ready to be delivered.
Lee University had packed and donated around 30,000 boxes since joining the program, and the university's Mike Hayes had hoped to have enough to reach 35,000 this year. Though they fell just a bit short, it is a program that school officials said will continue each November in the future.
"It went well, and many churches had boxes packed that they brought to us," Williams said. "In all, the packing went smooth, and I believe all the volunteers who helped had a good time."
She noted those volunteers included the Civil Air Patrol, the Cleveland Fire Department and Jim Gibson and the First Baptist Church staff. She also thanked the Cleveland Daily Banner and Mix 104.1 for publicity about the event.
Volunteers Monday were treated with meals by Honey Baked Ham and Jordan's Barbecue in Cleveland.
Not only do these children receive items just for them in the shoeboxes, but they also receive the Gospel from those who get the boxes into their hands. The "Greatest Journey" is a program where they learn to follow Christ and share Him with others.
"I am tired now from working all day, but there is also a feeling in my heart that I know I am doing the right thing and passing along the word of Christ to these children," Williams said. "In addition to giving these children shoeboxes filled with items they will enjoy, we are also passing along the word of God, and that means so much to all who get involved."
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