GFA World partners with Believers Eastern Church, Samaritan’s Purse, and the Stoney Creek community to serve as a collection centre for Christmas shoebox gifts for children in need
One of the core values of GFA World is being a people who work together with the body of Christ. In the week of November 15-22, 2021, GFA World was able to demonstrate this value by partnering with Believers Eastern Church and Samaritan’s Purse to share the joy of Christmas with children around the world by participating in the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child National Collection Week as a shoebox collection centre.
Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is a project of Samaritan’s Purse that is a hands-on way Canadians can bless struggling children around the world by filling shoeboxes with school supplies, hygiene items, and toys. Each and every gift is an opportunity for a child to hear that God loves them, and many shoeboxes have met real and specific needs in children’s lives, showing them how much God cares for them. For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received.
Each of the shoebox gifts that were received at the GFA World office, located at 245 King St E in Stoney Creek, ON, during National Collection Week was lovingly packed by someone in the Stoney Creek community to bless a child in need. Local churches also participated as they encouraged their members and affiliates to pack shoeboxes and collected these gifts prior to and during the National Collection Week. These boxes were then brought to the collection centre as the next step in being put into the hands of children in need. Shoeboxes from Canada will travel around the world to countries such as El Salvador, Costa Rica, Sierra Leone, and Gambia.
Though the GFA World office remains closed to visitors due to the current covid-19 restrictions, the staff have been faithfully serving those in need around the world in various ways from the office in Stoney Creek. The staff were excited to have this opportunity to partner with Believers Eastern Church – which shares a building with GFA World – Samaritan's Purse, and the local community by serving as a collection centre for OCC shoebox gifts.
2021 was the fourth year that GFA World has served as a collection centre, and staff and church members joyfully volunteered their time in the evenings and weekends, braving the crisp and windy weather, to receive the shoeboxes. In order to follow local covid-19 guidelines, contactless and drive through drop off was available.
A total of 18 volunteers, ranging from age 12 to 69, volunteered over 50 hours, and 805 shoeboxes were collected from local churches and individuals. The boxes were carefully packed into cartons and then taken to Church of the Rock in Hamilton, Ontario, from whence they were shipped to Samaritan’s Purse’s Canadian ministry and shoebox processing centre in Calgary, Alberta.
Since Operation Christmas Child began in 1993, more than 188 million children have received shoebox gifts in over 170 countries and territories. GFA World and Believers Eastern Church were honoured to be a part of this incredible ministry to bring Good News and great joy to children around the world.