FIVE FILLING ... Five women at The Bridge Community Church in Decatur are filling and wrapping shoeboxes for the yearly global Operation Christmas Child campaign. Clockwise around the table from left are, Lori Smith, Naomi Muselman, Maggie Greenway, Megan Smith, and Donna Luginbill. (Photo by Eric Mann)
The annual Operation Christmas Child (OCC) project has begun again, with the Adams County effort based at The Bridge Community Church in Decatur. Twelve other area churches are also involved.
The Bridge, on Winchester Rd. near N. 13th St., will accept shoeboxes filled with school supplies, toys, clothes, hygiene items, candy, and other things that will be sent to needy children in well over 100 nations. The deadline to bring the boxes to the church is next Monday at 1 p.m.
Last year, more than 8.2 million boxes were filled and many of them were decorated. The goal this year is 8.5 million boxes. Often, these boxes are the only gifts that such youngsters get at Christmastime, project organizer said.
Recipients of the boxes are divided into there age groups: two to four, five to nine, and 10 to 14.
Those who fill shoeboxes are also asked to donate $7 per box to cover shipping and the costs of the OCC project, which was begun in 1993 by Samaritan's Purse, a group founded by evangelist Rev. Billy Graham and now led by his son, Franklin. OCC functions year-round.
Donors may also put a photograph and a note in the boxes to report from whom the gifts came.
Naomi Muselman of The Bridge church, chairwoman of the local effort, said, "This is one of my favorite projects. It's easy to bless children overseas by packing shoeboxes full of goodies so they can have a little joy."
In 2010, according to Muselman, almost 1,000 boxes were prepared in Adams County and the goal this year is to reach at least 1,000 boxes.
The Bridge will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. through November 21 to receive the boxes, which will be shipped to Atlanta or Boone, North Carolina, for further processing before being sent to other countries.