Local churches collecting for Operation Christmas Child

Published 6:22 pm Tuesday, November 6, 2018

It’s a simple gift that can change a child’s life forever. Since 1993, thousands of shoeboxes containing gifts and the gospel of Jesus Christ have been placed in the hands of children around the world through Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse.

Next week, Beaufort County residents wishing to participate in this outpouring of Christian love will have their chance, as two churches in the county will serve as OCC collection points. From Nov. 12 to Nov. 19, Harvest Church in Washington and Free Union Original Free Will Baptist in Pinetown will be collecting shoeboxes packed by members of the community.

“At Harvest, we support a lot of missions all around the world and send people from our church out all around the world on mission trips,” Harvest Church Administrative Assistant Joanna Rieg said. “So this is just another extension of what we already do.”

While these are the places to take packed shoeboxes next week, a third church in the area has been preparing for the collection week since July.

During its annual Vacation Bible School, children and youth at First Baptist Church in Washington spent part of their summer learning about the ministry around the world and creating gifts for OCC. Last year, the church packed 250 boxes, and this year the goal is 300. This Sunday, participants and community members are invited to join in a packing party at the church from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

“The kids made toys like jump ropes, jewelry, paracord bracelets and other items to go in the boxes, with the focus on Operation Christmas Child,” FBC Director of Children’s Ministry and Outreach Joy Stallings said. “Now we’re preparing for a packing party at First Baptist on Sunday night.”

In addition to packing the boxes this weekend, FBC is still raising funds for shipping the boxes, each of which costs $9 to send overseas. Donations can be made during business hours at the church, with checks designated for Operation Christmas Child. Funds can also be donated for purchasing big gifts to put in the boxes. For more information, call FBC at 252-946-8074.

At Pungo Christian Academy, the spirit of the season is likewise in full swing. In recent weeks, the kids at the school have been packing boxes for shipping abroad. An annual tradition, students at the school have been doing so for a number of years.

For more information on Operation Christmas Child, visit www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child.


According to the Samaritan’s Purse website, packing a shoebox is an easy process. The first thing needed is an average-size cardboard or plastic shoebox. If wrapping the box, cover the lid and the box separately.

Boxes can be packed for the following combinations of ages and genders: girls and boys, ages 2 to 4, 5 to 9 and 10-14. The boxes can then be filled with personal care items, clothing and accessories, crafts and activities, toys and one “wow” item that will serve as the big gift. A personal note can also be included.

Prohibited items include candy, toothpaste, gum, used or damaged items, war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures, chocolate or food, seeds, fruit rolls or other fruit snacks, drink mixes (powdered or liquid), liquids or lotions, medications or vitamins, breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers and aerosol cans.

Samaritan’s Purse encourages the giver to pray over the package. Those wishing to follow their package’s progress online can purchase and print labels for $9 at www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/follow-your-box. Doing so covers the cost of shipping the box.

Finally, once all these steps are completed, drop your box off at one of the local collection locations during the designated times.


Harvest Church

2020 W. 15th St., Washington

Nov. 12-13: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 14: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 15: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Nov. 16: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 17: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 18: 1 – 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 19: 8 a.m. – noon.


Free Union Original Free Will Baptist

4961 Free Union Church Road, Pinetown

Nov. 12-15: 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Nov. 16: 6 – 8 p.m.

Nov. 17: 3 – 6 p.m.

Nov. 18-19: 3 – 5 p.m.