During last week's collection of shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, KNEO Radio – who is a relay station for the national organization – noted they had received a new record of shoeboxes for the cause.
"Our goal was 1,300 (this year)," KNEO radio office administrator Roberta Foster said. "Even though last year, we had 1,407 delivered to KNEO. We started this year praying and hoping for 1,300, and we got 1,623. Since we have seen the generosity of people's hearts, we have already set our next year's goal for 1,700."
KNEO, 10827 E. Hwy. 86, is where those who wanted to participate could drop off the items which in turn will go to needy children in other countries. The national collection days were Nov. 12-19.
Operation Christmas Child began in 1993, as a project of Samaritan's Purse, which was organized by Franklin Graham.
According to Foster, items that may be packed included: a toy, some candy (non-chocolate) and in a plastic bag, a photo of the person sending the items, school supplies and hygiene items. Other items include coloring books, crayons, erasers, pens/pencils, wind-up toys, sunglasses, yo-yos, small cars and baby dolls.
Individuals, businesses, churches and other organizations prepare these shoeboxes for this worthy cause. The 1,623 shoeboxes this year came from people in Newton and McDonald counties, along with a couple from neighboring counties, Foster noted.
The items are then to be put in a standard shoebox, not boot box, wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper and were dropped at the station. Then the radio station packaged them up and they were sent to Forest Park Baptist Church in Joplin, which is a Joplin collection center. After that, they are sent to Minneapolis, Minn. From there the boxes are sent to the children. This year, some of the countries that will receive the shoeboxes are Albania, Brazil, Columbia, Haiti and Kenya, to name a few.
When the children receive the shoeboxes, there will be something else in there as well.
"In every shoebox given out there will be a testimony of the love of Jesus Christ given with that shoebox," Foster said. "And those children at that point and time may have never heard the gospel before but they will have heard how they need to ask Jesus to be their Lord and Savior."
For more information, call KNEO at 451-5636 or visit Operation Christmas Child's website at www.samaritanspurse.com.