Operation Christmas Child underway at FBC



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Operation Christmas Child is underway and donations will be accepted at First Baptist Church until Nov. 19. First Baptist Church School students, with boxes prepared to fill for children in need around the world, are, from left, Michael Wetzel, Kelsey Cude, Loretta Fogle, Bella Bougher, and Rayne Gristy.





By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Thursday, Nov. 9, is the big day for First Baptist Christian School students to pack their shoe boxes full of presents for Operation Christmas Child (OCC).

It is a reminder that anyone can become a part of the Samaritan’s Purse ministry to spread the a message of love with shoeboxes full of small gifts and a gospel.

The boxes are shipped to underprivileged children all over the world who may never have received a Christmas gift.

All Highland Lakes churches and schools are invited to participate. Last year, 28 local churches participated. The final count was 2,268 shoeboxes filled and donated. Of those, 428 were given by First Baptist Church, 113 by First Baptist Christian School and 1,727 boxes given by 27 other congregations.

“We are hoping this year’s count will be even more,” said Beverly Whittlesey, who works with the program.

First Baptist Church is local headquarters and the drop-off point for all churches and schools in the Highland Lakes Area.

The deadline to bring filled boxes to the church is Nov. 19. Hours during the week before are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Nov. 18 and 1-2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19.

Packers will load the boxes on a truck to be taken to a center for shipment all over the world. Bring shoeboxes to First Baptist Church and, if possible, help out by including a $9 shipping fee.

“Everyone in the Highland Lakes area is invited to join in this fun holiday ministry,” said Whittlesey. “You can pick up a box with instructions for what to include at FBC, or use your own shoe box.”

Instructions are available at samaritanspurse.org/occ or by calling Karrie Byrd at 830-613-9655.

If you would like to help, but do not have time to shop, chairwomen Byrd and Whittlesey say they will gladly a box for you for a donation of just $20. They will shop for you, pack your box, and ship it for you, too, again asking for the $9 shipping donation, if possible.

Donations of small items to help FBCS fill their shoe boxes would be welcome as well if they can arrive by Nov. 8.

Most needed are things a boy or girl age 10-13 would like.

Last year, First Baptist Christian School kindergartener, Olivia Kraenzel, opted to sign up online for a special OCC service that would notify her where her box was delivered.

Her shoebox ended up in the hands of five-year-old named Baba in Tsevie, a city near the coast of the country of Togo, in Africa.

The heartwarming thank you letter she received led Olivia’s parents, Caleb and Kim Kraenzel, to reciprocate by sending a “care package” to Olivia’s new friend in Togo. They plan to keep in touch through the years, as the children grow up.

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