Two trailers sat in front of Grace Community High School and red and green shoe boxes lined the front entrance this week as the school takes part in the nationwide campaign “Operation Christmas Child.”
The boxes were filled with toys and hygiene products that will be sent to children around the world who are in desperate situations.
High School Secretary Elaine Florey is coordinating the operation for the school.
“It ministers to children,” Florey said. “It offers them a tangible gift that speaks to them and says somebody loves them on the other side of the world. They also share the Gospel as they share the gift so they get to learn about Jesus.”
The boxes can be filled with toys, clothing, hygiene products and school supplies.
Samaritan’s Purse asks that boxes not include certain items such as candy, toothpaste, gum; used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives and military figures; chocolate or food, seeds, drink mixes, liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; aerosol cans and breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers.
Grace Community has served as a drop-off site for the shoeboxes since 1995, and before that they took their boxes to another drop-off site.
The students at Grace Community are participating in the effort. They are greeting the community as they bring boxes in, creating boxes themselves and helping pack all the shoeboxes into larger boxes to be placed on the trucks.
Within the first few days of the operation, Grace Community has raised over 1,000 boxes. They usually collect over 11,000 total boxes.
Faith Community Church also is collecting shoeboxes. They have participating in Operation Christmas Child for six years.
Pastor Mark Skorheim said the church usually collects 2,000 boxes.
“We want them to receive these shoeboxes,” Skorheim said. “It’s a great way to encourage kids even in Third World countries with a gift and send the message that Jesus loves them.”
A CLOSER LOOK
Visit https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child for more information about how to create a box or what to place in the box.
Tyler drop-off locations are:
Grace Community High School, 3001 University Blvd. Contact at 903-566-5661.
Hours are: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18; Noon-2 p.m. Sunday; 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday.
Faith Community Church, 17833 U.S. Highway 69.
Hours are: 2-6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18; 2-6 p.m. Sunday; 10 a.m.-Noon Monday.