North Greenwood Baptist Church hopes to pack 1,000 shoeboxes full of gifts to help the Christian international relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse, says Ricky Wheat, the church’s pastor to young adults and missions.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has shared the message of Christianity to children in need and delivered more than 146 million shoeboxes around the world, according to the organization’s website.

Next week is National Collection Week, and Samaritan’s Purse will pick up shoeboxes at 5,000 locations, including North Greenwood Baptist. The goal is to collect 12 million boxes nationally, and North Greenwood Baptist Church hopes to pack 1,000 of those. Last year, the church packed 902.

A packing party to fill 400 boxes will take place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the church’s Fellowship Hall.

Shoeboxes contain a variety of items — with some limitations —including toys, clothes, personal hygiene and crafts. Each box will vary for three different age levels — 2 through 4, 5 through 9 and 10 through 14.

North Greenwood Baptist has participated in the project for the last 22 years and has been a drop-off point for 15. Wheat said he started the organization in Greenwood because of the program’s simplicity.

“I have grown to understand the program,” Wheat said. “I am passionate about what they do, and that is simply sharing the love of God with children around the world through a simple gift.”

Wheat said the packing party is open to the public, but those interested in helping can also donate money and items through the church or pack a box online at Samaritan’s Purse website. For more information, visit or call North Greenwood Baptist at 463-2801.

nContact Lauren Randall at 581-7239 or lrandall@

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.