On Sunday evening, Sweetwater Baptist Church held their annual shoebox packing for Operation Christ Child. This year marked the tenth time the church has participated.
Since the sixth year, it's become an all church party.
This year, Sweetwater Baptist Church members packed around 700 shoeboxes, which will send as gifts to children in primarily Third World countries. Sweetwater Baptist is one of several other churches around the area that send the filled shoeboxes to radio stations. In Neosho, the shoeboxes are all delivered to KNEO Radio. From there, the shoeboxes will be sent to one of four processing places in the country.
Sweetwater Baptist Church members Rhonda Marion and JeAnna McGarrah go to help at the Texas processing location. When the shoeboxes are processed, volunteers check to make sure the items that are packed meet the guidelines. One big requirement is that no war-like items be sent to the kids in Third World countries. This includes items such as water guns, toy soldiers, and toy guns can't be included.
The premise behind the boxes is that the shoeboxes are a gift from God.
"It's an opening to tell them that God loves them, and that children are special," Marion said when asked what she finds special about the project. "That opens the door to witness to them about Jesus."
She called Operation Christmas Child a wonderful opportunity to show kids that the world isn't all black and white.
Sweetwater Baptist Church included a Christmas card with a wonderful message in each of the shoeboxes they packed.
On Sunday, November 24, there will be a small dedication of the shoeboxes before they are taken to KNEO.
From KNEO, the shoeboxes will be delivered to a processing center. After that, the shoeboxes will be on their way overseas to make Operation Christmas Child happen and bring a little love, a little joy into the lives of kids around the world.