Global Christmas project underway in Orange

Published 3:31 pm Thursday, November 2, 2017

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


This month, several locations in the Golden Triangle area will serve as drop-off sites for the Samaritan’s Purse project, Operation Christmas Child—joining nearly 5,000 U.S. locations collecting gift-filled shoeboxes for children in need around the world.

During the project’s National Collection Week, Nov. 13 – 20, Golden Triangle residents will transform empty shoeboxes into gifts of hope filled with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys. Operation Christmas Child will deliver these shoebox gifts to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine.

This year, Golden Triangle-area residents hope to contribute more than 16,501 shoebox gifts toward the 2017 global goal of reaching 12 million children.

“We are honored to join the nationwide effort to collect gift-filled shoeboxes for children who may have never experienced the true meaning of Christmas,” said Lumberton volunteer Adrian Etie, who has participated in Operation Christmas Child for 6 years. “Through these simple gifts and a message of hope, children learn that God loves them and has not forgotten them.”

With two drop off locations in Orange County, the organization hopes to pass the number of boxes donated last year.

First Baptist Church in Orange has been a designated drop off location for several years, according to Brenda Allen, Orange Operation Christmas Child representative.

“We had a packing party in July and thankfully the boxes were upstairs when Hurricane Harvey came through,” Allen said. “There are options for those who would like to participate but are not able to fill a box.”

A ‘filler’ donation box is set up at the church for those who can only donate a few items such as a bar of soap or a few pencils.

“The boxes are shipped to the processing center in Dallas,” Allen said. “Nothing is ever removed from the boxes, unless it is on the prohibitive list. However, they will add to the box with items from the filler donations.”

Allen added that while, at first, she did not consider a bar of soap as a Christmas gift, she has since discovered how precious such items are to the children who receive the items.

“In a video on the website, there is one about a child whose father would cut a notebook in half and a pencil in half so both children could have their own,” Allen said. “Little things that we take for granted mean so much to the children.”

Items not permitted for the boxes, due to postal regulations are: toothpaste, candy, war related toys, knifes, or any liquid, glass or aerosol items. Such items are donated to other organizations.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child or to view gift suggestions, call (409) 504-0809 or visit Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 146 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

If a church or organization would like to participate in Operation Christmas Child, in need of boxes, or would like assistance in planning a packing party, contact Brenda Allen at 886-7462.