FLORISSANT, Mo. (BP)–With just 100 members, Parker Road Baptist Church consistently donated more than 1,000 shoe box gifts to Operation Christmas Child for each of the past three years.
Parker Road is participating again this year, doing its part from Florissant, Mo., to help Samaritan’s Purse reach a goal of 8 million gift-filled shoe boxes for children in 100-plus countries.
The boxes, filled with toys, necessity items, school supplies, candy and handwritten notes of encouragement, are collected by the relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham and hand-delivered to children worldwide who are suffering because of natural disaster, disease, war, terrorism, famine and poverty.
Parker Road already has packed and wrapped hundreds of shoe box gifts on the way to its goal of 1,200.
Jim McCaughan, who leads the undertaking at Parker Road, noted “the joy it brings to hurting boys and girls.” For many of the children, the love conveyed by the shoe box is the first gift they have ever received.
McCaughan’s personal commitment to Operation Christmas Child extends to shopping year-round for bargains to help the church pack as many shoe box gifts as possible.
“We have folks at the church who pack shoe box gifts all year, and then a few days before Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week [Nov. 16-23 for 2009], we get a bunch of people together and set up a shoe box assembly line,” McCaughan said. “On that Sunday we have a dedication service — and I’ll tell you what, it’s pretty impressive to see more than a thousand shoe boxes stacked up at the front of the church.”
The church has received thank you notes from kids in such faraway locations as India, Uganda, Kenya and the Republic of Georgia. The church also received an e-mail from someone who had visited a small church in an isolated village deep in Sudan where they saw a card that read, “We want you to know that we love you and Jesus loves you.” It came from one of the shoe boxes signed Parker Road Baptist Church.
This article first appeared in The Pathway (www.mbcpathway.com), newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention. For more information on Operation Christmas Child, visit www.samaritanspurse.org or call 1-800-353-5949.