Would you like to be a part of sending Christmas presents to children around the world who have never received a Christmas present before or they may have never even received a present before? For 23 years, the First Baptist Church in St. James has participated in packing shoeboxes that are sent to children that have been affected by war, natural disasters, poverty and disease and to children living on Native American reservations in the U.S.
Members donate school, hygiene and toy items, shoeboxes, and money all year long to help pack over 220 shoeboxes. Many families chose to pack entire shoeboxes as their mission project for these children who are in need. The gospel of Jesus is also shared along with the dissemination of shoeboxes through literature and the loving actions of workers and volunteers.
The shoeboxes are collected to benefit the ministry of Operation Christmas Child, which is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization. In its 25 years of service, Operation Christmas Child has delivered shoeboxes to 157 million children in over 160 countries and territories.
This year, First Baptist Church has been selected by Operation Christmas Child to be a drop-off site for community members, other area churches and organizations to drop off shoeboxes.
First Baptist Church is inviting everyone in the community to share in the blessing of packing a shoebox or shoeboxes and the chance to help share about Jesus to children in many parts of the world. Packing a shoebox is easy and so much fun. Start with a shoebox (if you want to wrap it, wrap the box and lid separately), select age group and gender; then, purchase items, such as: pencils, crayons, markers, erasers, small spiral notebooks, erasers, small toys, bar of soap, washcloth, comb, jewelry, hair ties, toothbrush, or socks. Children from ages 2-14 receive the shoeboxes with the age groups being 2-4 years, 5-9 years and 10-14 years. After filling the shoebox, please include $9 in an envelope for shipping. Please do not include liquids/shampoos, breakables, toothpaste or candy. Since 1993, this project has been enthusiastically supported by people all across the United States and other countries and ideas abound on how to fill shoeboxes, items to make for the shoeboxes, craft kits to include for the older children and more. Visit samaritanspurse.org/occ for ideas, preprinted shoeboxes, prepaid shipping options or sponsoring the shipping on shoeboxes that have been packed by young children or elderly that are on limited incomes. Our area Hobby Lobby has plastic shoeboxes for purchase that have been designed and printed especially for this project; many times the children are just as excited about the box that can be used for storage as they are about the items inside. As you start planning for your box, begin praying daily for the child that will receive your shoebox.
First Baptist Church will be collecting boxes the week of November 12-18 at 122 Aida St. at the north entrance facing Aida Street. Collection times and dates are as follows: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 10 a.m.-noon, Thursday 5-7 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-noon and Sunday 2-4 p.m. For more information, call the church office 573-265-3449, Peggy 573-263-5555 or Deanna 573-263-3168.