Shoeboxes and gifts

Stacks of shoeboxes filled with gifts have already been filled and delivered to North Greenwood Baptist Church for Operation Christmas Child, the annual program organized by Samaritan’s Purse that the church participates in each year.

North Greenwood Baptist Church is again helping with an  international nondenominational Christian organization’s campaign to provide shoeboxes full of gifts to children throughout the world.

The church has been assisting with Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child gift program for more than 10 years.

“We’re ready to get going here,” said the church’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jim Phillips.

The upcoming week marks national packing week for the program. North Greenwood Baptist also will serve as one of more than 4,000 dropoff locations to collect shoebox gifts.

From Monday through Friday next week, from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m., people can stop by North Greenwood Baptist at its Cleveland Street entrance to drop off a shoebox gift or to pick up a free cardboard shoebox to pack with gifts and drop off at the church later that week, Phillips said.

Each shoebox should contain several gifts — a “wow” item such as a doll or soccer ball, other toys, hygiene items and school supplies, as well as a personal note and a personal photo, according to Samaritan’s Purse.

For full directions on how to pack a shoebox, go to or pick up an informational pamphlet at North Greenwood Baptist Church, using the Cleveland Street entrance.

“Our people are packing this week, and this coming Sunday morning, we will have a dedication at both of our morning worships,” Phillips said.

At the end of next week, when packing week concludes, the shoeboxes will be transported to a regional collection facility and eventually taken to Atlanta, where each shoebox will be unpacked to make sure it’s permissible, Phillips said.

From Atlanta the shoeboxes are delivered to children throughout the world. In addition to the gifts, each shoebox will include a printed program about the Gospel, Phillips said. The shoeboxes will be distributed by various organizations and churches.

According to Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 178 million shoebox gifts to children throughout more than 160 countries and territories since 1993. Over 10.5 million shoebox gifts were collected last year and this year’s goal is to collect and deliver shoebox gifts to 11 million children.

Even though the program is named after the holiday, “the boxes are actually shared worldwide for many, many months after Christmas,” Phillips said.

Because North Greenwood Baptist has participated in the program for a decade, it received an honorary award about two years ago.

In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Sew and Grow, a women’s group at North Greenwood Baptist, has made about 700 facial masks to include in shoebox gifts, Phillips said.

For Phillips and others at his church, the joy in participating in the shoebox program is in knowing that a child will get the Gospel as well as other gifts.

“It’s good to be involved in something like this,” he said.

Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or

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