By Janelle Buniel
CAROLINA NEWS & REPORTER
Gifts are a staple of the holiday season, and Operation Christmas Child, a ministry run by Samaritan’s Purse, hopes to distribute millions of gifts to children in more than a hundred countries.
How? With shoeboxes.
University of South Carolina student Rebecca Radcliffe has filled shoeboxes with treats and necessities for over 10 years. Samaritan's Purse is a North Carolina Christian humanitarian aid agency run by Franklin Graham, son of the late evangelist Billy Graham.
“I think I just take for granted so much like having the little things like pencils and paper and hair ties,” she says. “It’s very humbling for me to spend just a little bit of my time and money to be able to provide a world for this child in need who probably doesn’t have the essentials that we take for granted every day.”
The Higher Grounds bookstore, part of First Baptist Church, is one of nearly 5,000 drop-off locations around the United States. When you give a box, you can specify the age and gender of the child to whom you want the box to go, and you can track the shoebox to see where it goes. The non-profit has designated Nov. 13-20 as national collection week.
Operation Christmas Child is a way for Radcliffe to minister to people around the world.
“That’s a way we are spreading the gospel to whatever country this box is gonna be sent to. It’s not like us physically going to that country, but it’s a way of us taking our faith and sharing it with someone even though we’ve never met them,” she said. “I think it’s like just such a special ministry that I think everyone should be involved in. It’s probably one of the easiest things that people can do, and I just think it’s such a blessing.”
If you want to give to the ministry, you can donate nine dollars online to pay for a shoebox to be shipped, or you can pack your own and drop it off at one of the locations.
Ideas for items to put in shoeboxes include: