Nov 23, 2021
College of the Ozarks hosts annual Operation Christmas Child donation drive
POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — College of the Ozarks continued the annual tradition of packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child by hosting a drop-off for the community and on-campus shoebox packing events through Nov. 22.
The Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child collects shoeboxes — filled with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items — and delivers them to children in need around the world to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 178 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.
The College of the Ozarks Christian Ministries Department planned and orchestrated the Operation Christmas Child events. Lori Simmons serves as community service coordinator at the College.
“At the drop-off location, we had multiple volunteers to receive the boxes and ask for prayer requests from the person dropping off the box,” Simmons said. “The volunteers will pray over each box because it may be going to a child who has never received a gift before. These boxes are a tangible way to show God’s love to a child.”
Shirley Davis, wife of College President Jerry C. Davis, has packed Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for the last 20 years. Davis loves to put time and effort into building the shoeboxes as a way to show her love for others. This year, Davis collected, wrapped, and packed a total of 60 shoeboxes and delivered them to the drop-off location on campus.
“I know the Gospel message goes with each of these shoeboxes,” Davis said. “I like meeting the needs of children physically, but I also want them to learn about Jesus. I know Samaritan’s Purse puts Gospel materials with each box, and they follow up with the kids that receive them.”
Dr. Justin Carswell, vice president of Christian ministries and dean of chapel, had the opportunity to visit Grenada in 2019 and participated in handing out a total of about 800 boxes to four different churches.
“I loved seeing the joy and excitement in the children’s faces as they received the shoebox,” Carswell said. “It was a big moment for them, and you could tell they were excited to receive a gift. I also saw the passion and commitment of these volunteers to make sure every child in each participating church received a box and heard the gospel preached. It was amazing to witness the power of the gospel in a simple gift of a shoebox.”
For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received. In 2021, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 9.7 million children.
Anyone who would like to contribute to Operation Christmas Child without leaving home can build a shoebox online at https://build-a-shoebox.samaritanspurse.org/view/1908f310-20b0-45ba-b2b0-0e1b6f91276a