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Lives changed forever with a simple shoebox

Lives changed forever with a simple shoebox

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The American Heritage Girls and Trail Life Boys

The American Heritage Girls and Trail Life Boys at Fairmount Christian Church packed 400 boxes last year for Operation Christmas Child. Church members and friends packed another 800 and took a trip to the Baltimore Processing Center in December to assist with the shipping and processing of the shoeboxes.

As a young girl, I was always fascinated with the stories about foreign missionaries that were told me in church, and I wanted to be a missionary when I grew up.

As a participant in Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, everyone can be a missionary by packing shoeboxes that take the message of hope, love, and salvation to children in need around the world.

For many of the children, this shoebox filled with school supplies, hygiene items, and toys is the first gift they have every received.

Since 1993, more than 178 million children in over 160 countries have received a shoebox. We call these shoeboxes “GO” boxes, for “Gospel Opportunity.”

When the children receive their shoeboxes, they are told about Jesus and are given a booklet called “The Greatest Gift,” written in their native language.

In this time of COVID-19, there is more need now than ever to send a message of hope to these children. There are over 100 churches and organizations in our extended community that participate in this ministry plus the many individuals who shop and pack. Some groups have “Packing Parties” where items are donated; others pack their shoeboxes individually.

Nov. 16-23 is Collection Week. This year, the designated drop-off locations in our immediate area are New Bethesda Baptist Church in Mechanicsville and the Dover Baptist Association in Lakeridge Park. Their hours of operation will be posted on along with lots of information about Operation Christmas Child.

If your church or organization is not currently involved and would like more information, please contact me as I can supply you with lots of free resources and some preprinted shoeboxes to get you started.

“What goes in the box is fun but what comes out is eternal!” So, be a missionary this year. It all starts with a shoebox gift packed with love.

Peggy Cross is a year-round volunteer with Operation Christmas Child. She may be contacted at

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