Operation Christmas Child under way to help needy youngsters

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By Katie Hogin

With the Christmas season quickly approaching, Operation Christmas Child is getting under way.

Operated under Samaritan’s Purse, an international and evangelical relief organization, Operation Christmas Child is both a national and international project aimed at filling shoe boxes with gifts and sending them abroad to children in need.

Drop-offs will be accepted during the organization’s national collection week Nov. 14-21.

First Baptist of Kingston will be collecting Roane County’s donations from churches and individuals Nov. 14-18, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., and Nov. 19-20, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

“I teach toddler Sunday school, and one of the first biblical principles that we teach is that Jesus wants us to love others and help others,” said Amanda Owings, Operation Christmas Child coordinator at First Baptist.

“Being able to involve these children in the packing of shoe boxes; letting them see the mounds of shoe boxes grow over the week and then, on the final day, sending them off — that’s one of the things I’m most excited about.”

Owings has been helping with Operation Christmas Child for four years.

“It’s just something I’m very passionate about in my own life,” she said.

She added that the church, along with other area churches for much of the past decade, have had packing parties among  church members.

Also going into the shoe boxes are “About Me” questionnaires to allow the recipient to possibly send a thank-you note in return.

Owings said her family will package up gifts they will send.

“I have seen the reports from and know some of the impact that we’re making,” she said. “All God asks us to do is plant that seed.”

For more information, contact Owings at First Baptist Church of Kingston at 376-6041.