Faith Christian Center doubles Operation Christmas Child boxes

Published 7:00 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The boxes were laid against the wall with the greatest of care as they waited their turn to be loaded for a trip to a corner of the world.

For the third year, the 120-member congregation of Faith Christian Center has prepared shoeboxes for children in other countries as part of Operation Christmas Child.

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“We’ve done 1,229 boxes,” church member Makita Wynn said. She said church member Teresa Jefferson is in charge of the project at the church and was at home finishing the remaining 200 boxes.

Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief organization that provides spiritual and physical aid to people around the world. It was founded in 1970 by Bob Pierce after visiting suffering children on the Korean island of Koje-do.

Under Operation Christmas Child, church groups pack shoeboxes designated for a boy or a girl with toys and other items.

Among the items packed in the boxes are hygiene items like toothbrushes, soap, a comb and washcloths, school supplies, crayons and coloring books and toys.

Hester Pitts, Warren County area coordinator for Operation Christmas Child, said 60 churches in Warren County and Louisiana participate in the program. The goal for the county is 6,000 boxes, “And we will make that.” The goal worldwide is 12 million.

“These packages will go to 100 countries across the world,” Pitts said. “We’re hoping to make our goals, because this year is (the Rev.) Billy Graham’s 99th birthday.”

Wynn said work for this year’s boxes began last year, when Jefferson began shopping for items “right after we finished last year. She went to stores all over looking for items on sale.”

She said the church began participating in the program three years ago at the urging of Faith Christian’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Ollie Hardaway and his wife Enid.

���Enid asked us to begin doing it,” Wynn said, adding the church already has a project of preparing 500 backpacks with items for children in Honduras. They packed 200 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child that first year.

“We did 600 shoeboxes last year,” she said. “This year our goal is 1,000.

“We started working on the boxes in October, and week, we met at Teresa’s house to pack the boxes; everyone helped out, the adults and the children; we set up an assembly line and went to work.”

“They pray over each box,” said Hester Pitts, Warren County area coordinator for Operation Christmas Child. “They pray for the child who will receive the box and for the family.”

On Nov. 14, workers from the River City Rescue Mission helped Wynn lead the boxes on a truck for delivery to First Baptist Church, which has served as an Operation Christian Child relay/collection center for 10 years, Pitts said.

“All the boxes from the other churches are brought here and loaded on an 18-wheeler and taken to Atlanta, where they are sent out,” she said, some members of the participating churches will go to Atlanta on Sunday  and help at the center.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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