Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing


Taylor Rankin

Junior Trezzie Ivy writes a Christmas letter to add into her shoe box.

Taylor Rankin, Staff Writer

Operation Christmas Child provides local churches who are Kingwood First Baptist Church ministry partners around the world with shoebox gifts as a way to reach children in their communities. Kristen Cain is a Student Ministry Associate at KFBC. Cain has been involved with Operation Christmas Child, which is run by Samaritan’s Purse since she was a little girl and Kingwood First Baptist has been involved in hosting the packing party since 2017.

“Our student ministry started hosting a packing party in 2017- our goal was 25 boxes and we packed 30; in 2018 our goal was 50 boxes and we packed 65,” Cain said. “Our goal this year was 100 boxes and we packed 106.”

Juniors Harleigh Richey and Lauren Park have been involved in Operation Christmas Child for four to five years.

“My most memorable moment while packing would have to be when my whole family participated in making the boxes together,” Richey said. “Just having gratitude and realizing everything we’ve been blessed with.”

The boxes include a “WOW” item, personal care items, clothing and accessories, crafts and activities, toys and a personal note. The Samaritan’s Purse website also has so many ideas for shopping and packing.

“A normal shopping trip for Operation Christmas Child boxes includes stopping at places like the Dollar Store for small toys, crafts, activities, etc. Then going to the travel size area in Walmart to find personal care items like toothbrush, bar soap, washcloths, etc.” Cain said. “Also looking for clothing or accessories, maybe a hat, flip flops, empty water bottle, etc. There are different ages to choose and focus on while shopping for the age-specific items.”

Although children love these tangible items, it isn’t just the objects that make them happy. Operation Christmas Child is not intended as a solution for meeting physical needs, but rather a strategy for the local church to meet the spiritual needs of children in their communities.

“The boxes are a way to give individual gifts to children around the world that are in the slums of their area,” Park said. “It’s a way to mission to countries who don’t know about God.”

Participating in Operation Christmas Child allows KFBC to be apart of the Great Commission and the Gospel message of Jesus reaching the ends of the world. Boxes from KFBC youth have been sent to Mexico and Ecuador. They used the “Follow my box” tracking tool through Samaritan’s Purse.

“For many children, this is the first gift they will ever receive. More important than the items in the shoebox, the gifts are an opportunity to share God’s love- and the Good News of Jesus Christ- with children in need.” Cain said.

Operation Christmas Child brings KFBC together in many ways. KFBC as a collection site, gets to host many volunteers and other local churches come to work together to complete this project. All of our ministries do something with this event, senior adults have a packing party, children’s ministry collects items, along with many families in our church participating.

“I think it’s brought our church together just by getting us together to make them and being grateful for each other and what we have,” Richey said. “I like participating in the boxes because it not only spreads Gods’ love to the children but it gives me joy to know that these kids are getting gifts on Christmas.”

Operation Christmas child is a new way to reach children all over the country over the past few years. Since 1993, 168 million shoebox gifts have been delivered.

“18.9 million children enrolled in our follow-up discipleship course since 2009. 2.1 million boys and girls have committed to sharing their faith with friends and family this year,” Cain said. “There are 2,184 languages left with no Scripture. That’s at least 100 million people who do not have one scripture verse they can understand, because the Bible is ‘illegal’ in 52 countries.”

The shoebox gifts are shipped out from KFBC processing centers by the middle of December, and depending on the distance they must travel, some are delivered by Christmas—primarily those in Central/South America and Eastern Europe. Most of the gifts are sent via ship.

“Although the collection of Operation Christmas Child gifts is during the Thanksgiving/Christmas season, the delivery of some gifts is sometimes delayed due to international shipping. They may not clear customs in receiving countries until spring,” Cain said. “In addition, many countries that receive the gifts must transport the gifts to rural areas using very poor roads. Distributions typically occur from late December through spring each year, extending the joy of Christmas to children that receive them!”

Operation Christmas Child is a time where we can all come together to give to others, these unvalued gifts in America brings joy to kids across the world. What matters most to KFBC is the work we put in together through missions.

“Here in America we may view these small gifts and travel since items as unimportant, but for these children who may have never received a single gift in their life, find joy in things!” Cain said. “I would encourage anyone to get involved with this ministry during the holiday season for a way to give back to others and provide hope to vulnerable children all over the world.”