People share Christmas with others through shoe box program

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Hundreds of shoe boxes filled with toys, candy, school supplies and hygiene items

have poured into the Baptist Association building this week for the Operation Christmas Child Program.

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The boxes were filled by local schools and churches of all denominations.

Volunteers helped to pack the shoe boxes into crates that will be shipped to a distribution center in Boone, N.C.

From there the shoe boxes will be sent by plane or ship and sometimes donkey to more than 100 countries around the world where they will be given out to children in difficult circumstances.

Before filling the shoe boxes people are asked to check a label for gender and age group.

Toy cars, rubber balls and hard candy are some of the favorite items that children receive.

One of the volunteers loading boxes told a story she heard from a missionary handing out the shoe boxes in Central America, where a child crushed a hard piece of lemon candy with a rock so all the other children could have a little taste.

War-related items like toy guns or knives and breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers are prohibited.

This is the 10th year that Selma’s churches and organizations have participated in the project with the number of donations growing each year.

Last year the Selma relay center at the Baptist Association building collected 2,160 boxes and they expect to get more this year.

Franklin Graham, the son of the internationally renown evangelist Billy Graham is the president of the Samaritan’s Purse Organization who oversees the coordination of the The Christmas Child Project.

“Franklin Graham is a fine Christian and he’s carrying the gospel into these countries with these shoe boxes.

Sometimes he’s stopped at gates and he doesn’t know if he’s going to get through but the Lord just provides a way.” said Kitty Singley the relay coordinator in Selma.