Our journey of Operation Christmas Child (OCC) started 20+ years ago with the intent of opening the eyes of the kids in our elementary age youth group (BKIC) to missions that they could do. The first year we packed about 72 shoeboxes and BKIC delivered them to the collection center. Fast forward 23 years to 2019 where we packed 1003 OCC shoeboxes! What a blessing from God; but how did we reach 1003 boxes this year? God gave us a people with a love for OCC, spreading the gospel around world to children and their families. Knowing that the outreach of one box reaches about 10 people for Jesus makes it all that more exciting! A little fun competition also helps, both with local churches and with Tucson First Brethren Church.
After packing 780 boxes last year and setting a goal of 1000 boxes for this year, it was decided we needed more organization. An OCC committee was formed with about six passionate volunteers. Those people took “jobs” according to their gifts, talents, and available time. The jobs included someone to write announcements for the bulletin, spokespersons to promote OCC within the church, an invaluable inventory person to keep track of all the items donated and what was needed for every box. We had two co-coordinators this year to set dates, organize events, acquire donations from local organization and order supplies from several sources (koleimports.com, usschoolsupply.com and dollartree.com). Supplies were purchased from the OCC fund of donations by church members throughout the year. The coordinators used the materials from Samaritan’s Purse as a guideline for timelines, events and OCC specific items.
In October a group of volunteers assembled the purchased shoeboxes and items for the shoeboxes – soaps, school supply kits, clothing, etc. Volunteers set up for the November packing party 2 days beforehand. On Saturday from 9:00 – 1:30, kids and adult volunteers came together to pack boxes. Other boxes were packed at home by members of the congregation and community friends. One family did 120 boxes on their own! A week later was collection and dedication Sunday, followed by the BKIC loading, delivering and unloading the boxes transported by volunteers to the collection center. God blessed us in reaching our goal for His kingdom this year. We can’t wait to hear how recipients of the boxes are blessed!