Batesville Operation Christmas Child volunteers in full swing
Linda Pitcock, Angela Carter, and Patricia Benson gathering materials for the local drive to send gifts to around the world through the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child ministry.
Patricia Benson and Nita Taylor (Mt. Olivet Methodist)
The Batesville Operation Christmas Child volunteer team is in full swing with just six weeks left before the Nov. 23 turn-in date for packed boxes that will be sent to foreign countries and eventually be Christmas presents for needy children on mission fields.
Batesville’s is part of the Hills Delta Area region of the national Operation Christmas Child ministry founded by Rev. Franklin Graham in 1993 when he was asked to provide gifts for children in war ravaged Bosnia.
Since then Operation Christmas Child has distributed nearly 200 million individual shoe boxes packed with toys, schools supplies, and hygiene items all over the world. Locally, volunteers work closely with youth groups and other organizations to carefully pack and seal pre-ordered shoeboxes with the gift items, keep records of the boxes, and ship them to an Atlanta distribution center.
There, as many as 10,000 volunteers from 11 states will work for a month to sort and send 1.5 million gifts packaged in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
Batesville’s efforts began in September with a drive-thru event at Batesville First Baptist Church where group leaders picked up literature outlining the packing plan along with plastic and cardboard boxes.
Area director Linda Pitcock said local commitment to the annual project continues to make possible worldwide opportunities to minister to children who may have never heard the Christian Gospel.
In 2019, Batesville collections of shoeboxes 3,213, Clarksdale drop-offs were 1,219, Pope had 2,166, Sumner had 130, and Water Valley volunteers collected 2,512. The total for the Hills Delta Area was 9,190 boxes last year.
The goal for 2020 is collection of 10,340 boxes. “This year will be a tough one, but we can do this,” said Pitcock.
Completed boxes in the area are taken to Calvary Baptist Church in Batesville and will be hauled to Atlanta by a big rig in November. People wanting to take part in the packing of boxes, or donations for the project, can contact Linda Pitcock (934-4346) or Patricia Benson (934-3355).
An online means of participation is available at samaritanspurse.org where people can follow links that allow volunteers to select gifts for a boy or girl with a contribution of $25.