Local families can collect school supplies for children worldwide

    The COVID-19 global pandemic has disrupted everyday life in some way for nearly everyone on the planet. Yet, Samaritan’s Purse continues to share hope through a shoebox. Staff and volunteers want boys and girls around the world to know they are loved and not forgotten during this time of fear and uncertainty.


    Operation Christmas Child—a project of Samaritan’s Purse—is led locally by a team of volunteers who coordinate collection efforts annually. The team is already preparing for any adjustments that need to be made in light of the current health crisis and is making plans to traditionally collect Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes as they always have during National Collection Week, November 16–23, 2020.
    As many families prepare to return to school, the South Central Missouri Area Team is reminding shoebox donors throughout the community to take advantage of low prices on school supplies during back-to-school sales.
    “School supplies in shoebox gifts are so important,” shares Denise Mueller who serves as a year-round volunteer on the local area team. “Many children are not able to attend school without them. By taking advantage of reduced prices currently available, more shoebox gifts can be assembled and distributed throughout the world. Whether you decide to pack your own box or to purchase some items and donate them to our local team efforts, you can make a huge difference in the lives of many children!”
    Anyone can pack a shoebox gift—filling standard-size shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, and notes of encouragement—to share with children around the world as a tangible expression of God’s love. One convenient and personal way to give shoebox gifts directly from home is to build a shoebox online. You make it your own by choosing from a list of gifts then adding a letter and a photo. Operation Christmas Child will pack it for you and send it off.
    In more than 100 countries, local ministry partners distribute shoeboxes to children in their communities. After receiving shoebox gifts, many boys and girls are invited to enroll in The Greatest Journey, a 12-lesson discipleship program. Through the program, local ministry partners are able to establish long-term, caring relationships with children and families by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.
    As the coronavirus continues to spread and cause untold suffering, children need hope and joy now more than ever.
    Please bring either shoebox gifts or school supplies to your local drop-off location. Project Leader Workshops will be held on September 12 at the following locations for anyone who is interested in leading an Operation Christmas Child collection in their church or community group: First Baptist in Belle at 10 a.m.; Amazing Grace in Cuba at 10 a.m.; First Baptist in Licking at 1 p.m.; and First Baptist in St James at 2:30 p.m.  Workshops are open to the public.
    If you have any questions about Operation Christmas Child or your local drop-off location, please contact Volunteer Area Coordinator Janice Hartinger at 573-368-8736.