Operation Christmas Child will reach children around the world

Shawn Hardy
Nelson Stayman, Larry Stayman and Lee Grimm, volunteers at the Antrim Brethren in Christ Church Operation Christmas Child collection site, unloaded a vehicle full of shoeboxes filled by members of Greencastle Church of the Brethren Tuesday morning. SHAWN HARDY/ECHO PILOT

The numbers were already adding up Tuesday morning at the Operation Christmas Child collection site at Antrim Brethren in Christ Church.

The night before, 584 shoeboxes were packed into cartons and loaded onto a tractor-trailer parked behind the church. More than 300 of the gift-filled shoeboxes bound for needy children around the world were donated by members of Antrim Brethren in Christ Church. Others came from churches across the Greencastle-Antrim community, as well as individuals, including a couple from Virginia who was in the area, according to Judy and Bob Ferris, who have filled shoeboxes for a number of years and are in their second year as coordinators for the Antrim BIC location.

Their first customer was waiting when the site opened Tuesday morning, and it wasn't long before a vehicle backed up loaded with nearly 90 boxes from Greencastle Church of the Brethren. While those shoeboxes were being counted, a cart with shoeboxes filled by Antrim BIC's sewing circle was wheeled down the hall.

Collection week continues through Monday Nov. 19, at 10 locations in the area for Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham.

The mission is to share the God's love and the good news of Jesus Christ through the shoebox gifts.

Local families, churches and groups fill the shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and hygiene items. The shoeboxes are distributed around the world and many of the children who receive them will also participate in the discipleship program The Greatest Journey.

"We have a passion for ministry," said Judy Ferris. "We know the shoeboxes touch young lives all over the world."

"It is a good opportunity to serve," said Bob Ferris.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 157 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine in more than 160 countries and territories. For many of these children, it will be the first gift they have ever received. The goal this year is to reach 11 million children.

 “We are honored to be linking arms with our community to help children around the world experience the true meaning of Christmas,” said Greencastle volunteer Peggy DeWire who has participated in Operation Christmas Child for over 10 years years. “These simple gifts show God’s love to children facing difficult circumstances.”

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, visit:

samaritanspurse.org/occ.

Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination.

Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse:

samaritanspurse.org/buildonline

to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.

Collection sites

Through Nov. 19 

Antrim BIC, 24 Kauffman Road, Chambersburg

Thursday 10 a.m.-noon, Friday 4-7 p.m., Saturday 1-3 p.m., Sunday 1-3 p.m., Monday 9-11 a.m.

Ebenezer Church, 3661 Williamson Road, Greencastle

Thursday 5-8 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Sunday 1-3 p.m., Monday 9-10 a.m.

Mercersburg Mennonite, 10060 Buchanan Trail West

Thursday 4-7 p.m., Friday 4-7 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Sunday 1-3 p.m., Monday 9-11 a.m.

Calvary Assembly of God, 116 Snider Ave., Waynesboro

Thursday 5-7 p.m., Friday 5-7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-noon, Sunday 3-5 p.m., Monday 9-11 a.m.

Chambersburg Mennonite, 1800 Philadelphia Ave.

Thursday 4-7 p.m., Friday 4-7 p.m., Saturday 1-3  p.m., Sunday 1-3 p.m., Monday 3-5 p.m.

Mount Pleasant UB Church, 2509 Black Gap Road, Chambersburg

Thursday 4-6 p.m., Friday 3-5 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday 2-4 p.m., Monday 9 a.m.-11 a.m.

New Guilford BIC, 1575 Mont Alto Road, Chambersburg

Thursday 6-8 p.m., Friday 6-8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-noon, Sunday 2-4 p.m., Monday 9-11 a.m.

Shippensburg 1st Church of God, 125 E. King St.

Thursday 4-7 p.m., Friday 4-7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-noon, Sunday noon-3 p.m., Monday 10 a.m.-noon.

Mount Rock UB Church, 22 Mount Rock Road, Shippensburg

Thursday 5-8 p.m., Friday 5-8 p.m., Saturday 9-11 a.m., Sunday 1-3 p.m., Monday 9-11 a.m.

Upper Path Valley Presbyterian, 16950 Main Street, Spring Run

Thursday 5-7 p.m., Friday 5-7 p.m.