Tonight was fun. Our congregation pulled together for a very important purpose. We were packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child! Click on that link to learn more about this project. It is BIG! Boxes are sent all over the world to give to children who likely would have no Christmas gifts otherwise. My friend, Nicole, is the driving force behind our church's efforts to contribute to this project.
She had a group of well organized helpers who had done a lot of prep work to have things ready. In fact, last week we had a pre-packing party where we used baggies to organize health kits, candy bags, school kits, etc. Those items were then included on the tables lined up with lots and lots of presents for children of various ages. Everything as so well organized!
These gift items were all donated by people from our church. We have a very, very generous congregation and they've been donating for this project now for some time.
We gathered for pizza while the last preparations were made. I particularly liked the taped arrows around the church building. It was set up so we could pick up a box, write a note and trace our hand on the inside lid of the box, add some tissue paper, a bag of candy, a bag of school supplies, a bag of hygiene items such as toothbrushes, cloth, soap,etc, Once we hand those things in our box we got to choose if a path to go by tables sorted by items appropriate for either younger children, older children or those in between.
Before we ever began, though, we gathered to pray for those who would receive our boxes of gifts. Once we started, it went pretty quickly because there were a lot of us there. Nicole had told us Sunday that she needed "all hands on deck" and that is exactly what she got! We just lined up and took a box past each station. It was fun to choose the toys or other items we added to our box. When complete, we took the to the table of helpers who added a label. They passed the boxes back to others who rubber banded them and put them into bigger boxes and eventually into our church van/trailer for transportation to the collection point. We just kept the line going, each of us doing several boxes.
It was kind of like shopping as we chose what items to put in our boxes.
I choose to not publish photos of the children there, but they ranged from about age 3 on up. Its was great!
In about an hour's time we had packed 335 boxes loaded with surprises for children all around the world! Another congregation here in town helped with the effort and brought over 40 more boxes to add to our efforts. What a great project!