By Carrie Dillard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Members and youth of Gilbert’s Chapel United Baptist Church held a packing party Sunday afternoon to get ready for the Operation Christmas Child shoebox collection in Laurel County, going on now until November 19.
Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, gives the gift of little things – like bookmarks, sewing kits, yo-yos, and pencils – to children from every corner of the globe so they might learn about generosity and about God’s love.
The church is in their fifth year participating in the shoebox ministry. Although the majority of the packing and wrapping is done by youth, the whole church participates.
“Everyone has brought in items over the past two months,” said Amy Holcomb, wife of church Pastor Joel Holcomb.
But for the youth, this ministry is a good lesson in giving and materialism.
“Everybody doesn’t have like we do. I’ve been told that for some of these children (who receive shoeboxes), the box itself is a gift,” Holcomb continued. “We are just so blessed to live in a Christian, prosperous nation.”
For Micah Holcomb, her 14-year-old son, participating this year is extra special. Micah, along with five other members from their church, went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic this summer. During this time, they helped to build the foundation of a medical center, a project which is being continued by numerous other missionary teams.
“I’ve seen how big a deal this actually is, how little these kids have,” Micah said. And he is glad that he can be of service to them, through missions and through the shoebox project.
Last year, Gilbert’s Chapel turned in 30 boxes to the Laurel County collection center at 70 Monty Drive in London. This year, the church has nearly doubled their donation with 50 boxes.
Since the project began in 1993, Samaritan’s Purse has distributed more than 68 million shoeboxes to children who were suffering from war, terrorism, disease, natural disaster, famine and poverty.
Anyone can participate. All boxes must be turned in to the local collection center by November 19.
The center is open Wednesday, Nov. 14 from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 15 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 16 from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 17 from 1 p.m.- 6 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 18 from 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.; and Monday, Nov. 19 from 11 – 1 p.m. Open hours on November 19 are subject to change.
For more information, contact Kathy Huff at 864-2415 or Nancy Perkins at 878-9759.