July 21, 2011 12:31:00 PM
Operation Christmas Child Regional Manager Gabe Walker, of Atlanta, will be in Columbus Saturday to share the mission behind the Samaritan''s Purse shoebox ministry. The public is invited to the event scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon in the Fellowship Hall of First Baptist Church at 202 Seventh St. N.
Although reservations are not required, those planning to attend are asked to contact the church at 662-328-3915 in order to help with a head count for seating and refreshments.
"Everyone is encouraged to come," invited Nelda Brown, coordinator of the OCC Columbus Collection Center. "We''re hoping to make more people aware of Operation Christmas Child and its true mission."
Through OCC, donated shoebox-sized containers filled with small gifts, such as tiny toys, pencils, combs, barrettes, toothbrushes and toothpaste, are distributed to children in often desolate and remote locations worldwide.
In 2010, the Columbus Collection Center, which serves multiple counties, received 18,662 packed shoeboxes. That number represented an approximately four percent growth from the previous year. The state of Mississippi collected a total 140,393 boxes. Global collections topped eight million boxes.
"Though these numbers are impressive, they represent a fraction of the children in the world who need to be reached with the gospel of Jesus, which is the purpose of the shoeboxes," Brown said.
Learn more about Operation Christmas Child at samaritanspurse.org.