Shoeboxes of love

Published 1:06 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Thanks to the to the efforts of churches such as First Baptist of Ahoskie and Galatia Baptist Church of Seaboard – along with thousands of others across the nation – Christmas 2017 will be much brighter for underprivileged children across the globe.

This month, several locations in the multi-county Upper Eastern NC Area Team will serve as drop-off sites for the Samaritan’s Purse project, Operation Christmas Child—joining nearly 5,000 U.S. locations collecting gift-filled shoeboxes for children in need around the world. Without these “shoeboxes of love” children around the world living in extreme poverty or affected by war, disease and natural disaster would be destined to wake up Christmas morning without the opportunity to unwrap a gift. For many of these children it will be the first gift they have ever received.

During the project’s National Collection Week, Nov. 13 – 20, residents of the Roanoke-Chowan area will transform empty shoeboxes into gifts of hope filled with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys. Operation Christmas Child will deliver these shoebox gifts to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine.

This year, the Upper Eastern NC Area Team hopes to contribute more than 25,000 shoebox gifts toward the 2017 global goal of reaching 12 million children.

“We are honored to join the nationwide effort to collect gift-filled shoeboxes for children who may have never experienced the true meaning of Christmas,” said Regional Director Lindsay Tunnell. “Through these simple gifts and a message of hope, children learn that God loves them and has not forgotten them.”

Local collection sites are:


First Baptist Church

312 West Main Street

Mon, Nov. 13: 4-7 pm

Tue, Nov. 14: 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

Wed, Nov. 15: 4-6:30 pm

Thu, Nov. 16: 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

Fri, Nov. 17: 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

Sat, Nov. 18: 10 am – 12 noon

Sun, Nov. 19: 4-8 pm

Mon, Nov. 20: 8-10 am

Galatia Baptist Church

1219 Galatia Road


Mon, Nov. 13: 9 am – 2 pm

Tue, Nov. 14: 9 am – 2 pm

Wed, Nov. 15: 9 am – 6 pm

Thu, Nov. 16: 9 am – 2 pm

Fri, Nov. 17: 9 am – 2 pm

Sat, Nov. 18: 9 am – 12 noon

Sun, Nov. 19: 2-6:30 pm

Mon, Nov. 20: 8-10 am

East 10th Street

Church of Christ

1207 E 10th Street

Roanoke Rapids

Mon, Nov. 13: 10 am – 2 pm

Tue, Nov. 14: 4-7 pm

Wed, Nov. 15: 10 am – 2 pm

Thu, Nov. 16: 4-7 pm

Fri, Nov. 17: 10 am – 2 pm

Sat, Nov. 18: 10 am – 1 pm

Sun, Nov. 19: 2-4 pm

Mon, Nov. 20: 9-11 am

Hours subject to change.

On its exterior, each box contains a colorful sticker containing information pertaining to whether the surprises inside are for a boy or a girl and the ages of that child. Those donating those gifts can choose the gender of the recipient as well as the age group (2-4; 5-9; 10-14).

Samaritan’s Purse makes suggestions on what types of gifts to pack – to include a “wow” item like a doll or soccer ball, and other fun toys, along with school supplies, non-liquid hygiene items (toothbrushes, bar soap, washcloths, combs, etc.) and notes of encouragement. The latter may include a photo of the person or family donating the gift, along with their address as the child receiving the gift may choose to correspond via a letter of thanks. It’s also suggested to include a $9 donation inside the box to assist Samaritan’s Purse in offsetting shipping costs.

Through the Samaritan’s Purse website you can follow your box and receive an email on where your box was delivered.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child or to view gift suggestions, call 704-583-1463 or visit

Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 146 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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