Operation Christmas Child seeks drop-off location

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property 'settings' of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in include() (line 24 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/templates/simpleads_ajax_call.tpl.php).

Amy Speed, Area Coordinator with Operation Christmas Child, leads a team of ministry coordinators and recruits shoebox drop-off locations, which Clayton County currently does not have. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

For over 50 years, Samaritan’s Purse has followed Christ’s command by going to the aid of the world’s poor, sick, and suffering – providing food, medicine, and other assistance in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Operation Christmas Child 

"Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan's Purse," noted Amy Speed, Director of Marketing and Development Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics, and Area Coordinator with Operation Christmas Child. "I have been volunteering with this organization for several years as a Year-Round Volunteer." 

Speed is a member of Antioch Christian Church in Marion and oversees nine counties in that area. "My role is to lead a team of ministry coordinators and recruit drop-off locations. Currently there is no drop-off location in Clayton County. I am happy to visit with a church or community group that would like to get involved with this meaningful project."  

Clayton County's nearest drop-off locations are Faith Evangelical Free Church in Prairie du Chien, Wis., or First Baptist Church in Dubuque. 

Since 1993 Operation Christmas Child has gifted shoeboxes to 209 million children in 170 different countries. "I got involved about 20 years ago. I absolutely fell in love with it when I began packing shoeboxes with my own kiddos," said Speed, who has a passion for children's ministry.

Speed became a volunteer with Operation Christmas Child while attending church in Cascade. She stayed dedicated to the program and continues to volunteer at her current place of worship. "When we started to attend Antioch I did not hesitate to extend an invitation to church leadership to get involved and become a drop-off location," she told The Press. "At that time Antioch was collecting about 50 shoeboxes. That year we collected close to 500!" 

Antioch is now the central drop-off location thanks to Speed's dedicated efforts. "My husband, Bryan, is a huge help. He does so much to assist me in this ministry," she said with gratitude. 

Shoebox gift

Speed's team will begin handing out boxes to parishioners the last week in October, and encourage people to bring them back filled with gifts and include a $10 dollar donation to cover the cost of shipping. 

"The main reason we pack a box is to share the love of Jesus across the world. We teach children the greatest gift is Jesus," she commented. 

Each shoebox is a tangible expression of God's love for children ages 2- 14, and may be the only gift the child has ever received. Items for consideration are hygiene products, school supplies and a "Wow!" gift, like a soccer ball or doll. Adding a personal note and photo often mean the most to the recipient. Organizers stress it is also important to pray for the child who will receive your gift. "The mission is for the child to receive a box once," she explained. "The organizers make every effort to reach children all over the world, not the same ones." 

The greatest gift

Children are invited to attend a special celebration. "After singing and sharing the gospel message church volunteers announce, 'We have another gift for you. A tangible expression of God's love!'" she added.

Every shoebox gets a copy of  The Greatest Gift in the recipient's own language and they are offered an opportunity to be part of a discipleship program. "When a child receives the box full of gifts it represents the love God has for them from a complete stranger – an eternal impact," shared Speed."It is estimated that up to ten  people that are part of the child's life including siblings, parents, grandparents, friends, and extended family are all positively impacted by the gift."

The perfect gift

Speed shared this heart-warming story. "All these shoe boxes are sent to a processing center where volunteers inspect them. One year, a young child opened their gift and the entire box was filled with socks! The volunteer tried to offer the child a different box, but the child held on to the box tightly. It was later discovered the child had severely burned feet and could not wear shoes. The only thing they could wear was socks! God orchestrated this box to get to this child!" 

Last year Antioch Christian Church collected 8,500 shoeboxes. "Our goal this year is to collect 10,001 – for that one child," she concluded with a smile. 

For additional information, or if your church or community group would like to be a drop-off location, contact Amy Speed at occamyspeed@gmail.com

Rate this article: 
No votes yet