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The Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ministry collection and relay site located at Fellowship Bible Church on Alexander Street in Elizabethtown was very busy this past Sunday and Monday. The local church is the Central Drop-off Site for Bladen and Columbus County.

Bladen and Columbus County residents help pack boxes with presents for children in other countries to enjoy for Christmas. Each box is packed with hygiene products and small gifts. Then each box is prayed over and sent to children all over the world with a program for leaders to introduce the Christian message to the recipients.

Operation Christmas Child is a mission project organized by Samaritan’s Purse. The mission has grown since it first started in the 1990’s after Dave Cooke, a father of four from Wrexham, North Wales, saw the horror of abandoned children in Romanian orphanages on the news and asked friends to help fill a truck with toys to drive to the children’s home in Romania.

Now, every year, churches, non-profit groups, schools, civic organizations and businesses help this non-denominational ministry to spread the message of Christ Jesus, gift giving and prayer.

Boxes are prepared for boys and girls from ages 2 years old up to 14 years of age. Lynn Ransom from Foundation Church is the area coordinator for the ministry. “We passed our goal of collecting 10,000 boxes!” Ransom exclaimed, “We had 581 more boxes than we did last year.”

This year there were 10,041 boxes collected and loaded to be shipped out of the Elizabethtown’s Central Drop Off. The volunteers make a list and check it twice. All the boxes are checked, double checked and prayed over multiple times before being loaded and shipped to their final destination.

Bladen County Coordinator Pat Warwick with Fellowship Bible Church, said the ministry is continuing to grow.

For more information about Operation Christmas Child and how you can pack a box go to samaritanspurse.org/occ.

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Operation Christmas Child

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