Believers Eastern Church (BEC) of Stoney Creek partnered with Operation Christmas Child (OCC) as a shoebox collection centre for Stoney Creek and the surrounding area during OCC National Collection Week, November 13-18.
It was an exciting opportunity to join with Samaritan’s Purse and help bring hope and joy to children in desperate situations around the world. Believers Eastern Church was the only collection centre for the community of Stoney Creek, with the two other closest locations in Hamilton and Grimbsy.
This was Believers Eastern Church's first time serving as a collection centre and there was a generous response from the community. Throughout the week a total of 450 shoeboxes from individuals, churches and organizations in the area were received.
GFA World staff and students volunteered their time to greet donors and receive shoebox gifts during the collection centre hours of operation.
Operation Christmas Child is a practical way for Canadians to bless struggling children in the developing world by filling shoeboxes with toys, hygiene items, school supplies, and other items.
Since its beginning in 1990, OCC has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to over 135 million children in more than 150 countries and territories.
From Canada, OCC sends boxes to a variety of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and West Africa. From ten sending countries, OCC sends shoeboxes to over 100 countries worldwide. According to the OCC website, in 2017, Canadians donated 615,120 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.
Following National Collection Week, a group of GFA World staff members packed up all the shoeboxes into a van and trailer and traveled to the OCC Processing Centre in Woodstock, Ontario. Upon arrival, they joined around 150 other volunteers to help organize and prepare the shoeboxes for delivery. There are only two of these processing centres in Canada, where about 20,000 volunteers serve each year, one located in Woodstock and the other in Calgary, Alberta. Each shoebox destined for a child in need will make its first stop at one of these processing centres to be carefully inspected and made ready for overseas shipment.
During their two-and-a-half-hour shift, GFA World volunteers helped with processing around 6,500 shoeboxes. This involved separating boxes by age and gender, packing shoeboxes in designated cartons and organizing and packing the odd shoeboxes to be sent to an assortment of countries around the world. They also had the exciting opportunity to hear the testimony of a shoebox recipient which gave them a glimpse of just how much of an impact a shoebox can have on a child’s life.
It was a joy for Believers Eastern Church to partner with Operation Christmas Child, knowing that together they are a part of touching the lives of many children in need this Christmas. Through something as simple as a shoebox, children around the world can have the opportunity to experience the hope and love of God in a tangible way.
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