Fill a box: Help a child

November 2014 Posted in Community
Marilyn Schmidgall, Julie Birch and Sally Newkirk wrap preasents for Operation Christmas Child.

Marilyn Schmidgall, Julie Birch and Sally Newkirk wrap presents for Operation Christmas Child.

By Brenna Wiegand

What better use for a shoe box than to fill it with gifts and send it to a child in need across the world? That’s the credo of Operation Christmas Child.

Julie Birch of Mount Angel Bible Church and Marilyn Schmidgall of Silverton First Baptist team up to provide a drop spot for what they hope will be a flood of packed shoe boxes this year.  Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of the international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse. Filled boxes may be dropped off at Silverton First Baptist Nov. 17-24.

“Because Samaritan’s Purse has all that infrastructure, it’s an easy thing a family, small group or individual can do that has an eternal impact,” Birch said. “Several other groups participate, including Silverton Christian School and Silverton MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and individuals. We collected just under 400 last year.”

From there the boxes are shipped to more than 130 countries around the world.

“It’s a way to show them that somebody cares about them and to present the Gospel message to the children,” Birch said, adding local churches provide discipleship programs for those choosing to go further. She enjoys seeing what she can cram into one box and scoring at seasonal sales.

“My big coup was finding all these stuffed animals for a dollar apiece right after Easter. That and getting the school supplies when they’re cheap in August,” she said.

Schmidgall said they collect and wrap shoe boxes during the year to give to people when the push is on. She has had a lot of fun taking her grandkids to the dollar store with an allowance and a box to fill.

“We usually do school supplies – pencils, crayons, tablets, erasers; some little toys; hygiene things – soap; toothbrushes, washcloths – and of course some hard candy; the kind that doesn’t melt,” she said. “Last year we found some real inexpensive flip flops and threw in some of those. A lot of them have no shoes, so there’s no need to put in socks.”

Operation Christmas Child National Collection Week
When: Nov. 17-24
Drop site: Silverton First Baptist Church, 229 Westfield St.
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-3 p.m.; Monday, Nov. 24, 8-10 a.m.
Use an ordinary shoe box or purchase decorated boxes. Fill with useful items such as personal care supplies, school supplies.
Labels; prepared boxes: www.samaritanspurse.org
More info: limited supply of free boxes: Julie Birch, 503-873-6538

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