Operation Christmas Child

Alamo Heights Baptist Church of Port Lavaca Children in Action class are pictured packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes with toys and hygiene items to donate to youth. The drop off location is Alamo Heights Baptist Church beginning Monday, Nov. 16. (Contributed photo)

It begins with a simple shoebox filled with much-needed items a child can use; items as simple as a toothbrush, a bar of soap and a washcloth, a comb or brush, school supplies, and maybe a simple toy to bring a smile to a child’s face. It is that time of year again as Operation Christmas Child kicks off in Calhoun County.

OCC is a project of Samaritans’ Purse, an international relief organization. OCC is a unique and exciting outreach ministry, which started more than 25 years ago and has impacted more than 157 million children.

Alamo Heights Baptist Church, located at 110 Trinity Shores Dr. in Port Lavaca, is once again the official drop-off location for OCC donations.

“Anyone can participate. Whether you are a church, club, business, or an individual, all you have to do is pack a box or boxes and bring them to Alamo Heights Baptist Church during the drop-off times,” said OOC Drop-Off Coordinator of Calhoun County Candy Lambert. “We have several of the churches in Calhoun County that already participate and have been for many years. It is always such a blessing to have new churches become involved in this ministry. When you pack a box, you can be assured that a child somewhere in the world will open it and be so excited to know that people care about them. What a blessing.”

Drop-off times at AHBC are as follows:

Monday, Nov. 16, thru Friday, Nov. 20: 11 a.m. to noon and 4:30-6:30 p.m

Saturday, Nov. 21: 10 a.m. to noon

Sunday, Nov. 22: 4-6 p.m

Monday, Nov. 23: 8-10 a.m.

Age groups for the children are 2-4, 5-9, and 10-14.

Fill the boxes with items that a child would love to play with, such as a stuffed animal, a book, a box of colors or markers, a little doll for a girl, or a car or marbles for a boy.

“This shoebox is the first gift many of these children have ever received. They are also given a booklet in their language that introduces them to Jesus and tells of His love for all of them,” said Lambert. “This simple gift can lead to the awesome gift of eternal life in Heaven not only for these children but also for their families as well. One box can reach many for Jesus.”

OCC shoeboxes and labels are available at Alamo Heights Baptist Church; however, any shoeboxes or plastic boxes are accepted. Items need to fill shoeboxes are hygiene items such as toothbrushes, toothbrush holders, bar soap, soap dishes, washcloths, combs, or brushes. School supplies such as pencils, pencil sharpeners, erasers, pens, colors, colored pencils, markers, watercolor paint sets, school scissors, or small notebooks are acceptable. Also included are toys such as stuffed animals, small puzzles, small books, coloring-books, little dolls, jump ropes, yo-yos, marbles, cars, small balls, harmonicas, jewelry, hair accessories, lip balm, socks, flip-flops or shoes, small purses, tee shirts or any other items a child might like.

No war toys, food items, candy, flavored drink packs, fruit snacks, or liquids will be accepted in OOC shoe boxes.

“If you can send a personal note or card and, if you include your address, you may very likely receive a note back from the child,” said Lambert.

Shoeboxes do not need to be wrapped. OCC is requesting a $9 donation to cover the costs of shipping for each box.

Alamo Heights Baptist Church packed 228 boxes last year with the help of 28 different churches, clubs, businesses, families, and individuals. More than 600 boxes were packed in Calhoun County.

“We would love to see 750-800 boxes packed this year,” said Lambert. “Packing a simple shoebox can change the life of a child not only for that day but for eternity.”

For more information about OCC or to donate, please call AHBC at 361-552-2532 or 361-746-8766.