Hundreds of shoeboxes filled with toys, clothes and more were stacked in a corner of the Richmond Hill United Methodist Church chapel Tuesday as the Operation Christmas Child relay week began.
As of Tuesday, around 300 shoeboxes had already been boxed up at the church to be sent to a distribution center in Atlanta, organizer Jane Walden said. From there the boxes will be shipped around the world to less fortunate children through the international relief effort Samaritan’s Purse.
Last year, Walden said, the first few days of the relay were not busy at all, and the church took in hardly any boxes. But this year has been different. Walden said that the dozens of shoeboxes brought in Monday were a pleasant surprise.
“If everyday could be like that, this room would be full and it was a blessing to see them come in,” she said.
Walden said this is the second year the church has participated in Operation Christmas Child. Last year more than 1,200 shoeboxes were collected, and she said this year she hopes for at least 1,500. She heads up the effort because she loves children and because God wants her to do this, she said.
“Knowing we can be a missionary from here without having to travel and it doesn’t cost us a lot of money, and to know that we’re introducing Jesus to a child is the most important thing,” Walden said.
The church will be collecting filled boxes from 1-3 p.m. today and Thursday; 4-6 p.m. Friday; 2-4 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday.
Those donating boxes can also track their boxes by going to www.samaritanspurse.org/ezgive and printing out a tracking label.
Anyone interested in volunteering with Operation Christmas Child can contact Walden at 312-0711 or call the church at 756-2190.
Read more in the Nov. 16 edition of the News.