Every year, we gather as a church community to support Operation Christmas Child (OCC) under the leadership of members John and Alice Graham.
Every July, we celebrate Christmas in July with donation drives each Sunday for items to pack into shoeboxes later in the year. Then, as the holidays approach, we distribute shoeboxes designed by Samaritan's Purse to anyone who would like to individually pack and contribute their own box. We also host packing parties at the church, where ministry teams can pool their resources to pack shoeboxes together. We also collect shoeboxes from others in the community, so we can deliver their donations to the right place. Lastly, we send volunteers to the shoebox processing center in Charlotte, where we deliver what we have and help pack the shoeboxes that pass through their facility.
This year was no exception! Our Youth and Children's Ministries planned a special packing party, in which youths paired off with children to help them establish well rounded boxes that would include things like clothing, school supplies, hygiene items, toys, and special notes from Southside church members. These, in addition to those from our larger congregation, added up to 198 total shoeboxes by Collection Sunday, the Sunday before Thanksgiving. We also received an additional donation of 178 shoeboxes, packed and contributed by a single family from the Classical Conversations homeschool cooperative that meets at our church. We delivered these to the processing center in Charlotte, where we once again sent two teams of church members to help them pack and process hundreds of thousands of boxes.
Every shoebox that passed through the hands of Southside Church members was handled with care and prayer, that they might bring joy and the Gospel message to children all over the world. We love being a part of this ministry and want to thank John and Alice Graham for their leadership in pursuing it each year.