“When kids help their parents pack a box, they can start to understand Christmas is just as much about giving as getting.”
— Craig resident Katie Grobe about Operation Christmas Child
It’s national collection Week for Operation Christmas Child, and Craig residents are doing their part to make it a success.
Julie Grobe will be at Calvary Baptist Church every day this week from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and until noon Sunday, collecting boxes for Operation Christmas Child to take to Grand Junction Sunday.
Operation Christmas Child began in 1993 and was started by Samaritan’s Purse. It works internationally to provide underprivileged children with Christmas gifts and the story of Christ’s love, Julie said.
She said she’s been involved with the organization for at least 16 years.
“The real reason I keep doing this and coming back is because of the kids," Julie said. "A kid opens a box somewhere and knows someone cares. They also get the message of the gospel."
The gift, a shoebox or plastic tub, is filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items for specific age groups of girls and boys.
This year, Samaritan’s Purse hopes to deliver their 100-millionth shoe box.
At a local level, Julie said she hopes to get 600 boxes donated this year compared to last year’s 494. So far she’s collected 143.
Julie said kids use everything sent to them. She's even heard stories of recipients taking the wrapping paper their gifts were in and hanging it as wallpaper in their huts.
Katie Grobe, who was collecting boxes Tuesday with her mother, said she likes the opportunity for community involvement as well as the valuable lesson is can teach kids could about the Christmas season.
“When kids help their parents pack a box, they can start to understand Christmas is just as much about giving as getting,” Katie said.
Julie said whether you donate one or thirty boxes, each one makes a difference.
“It all adds up," Julie said. "We’ll take them any way they want to bring them."
Julie said she still has boxes available if people want to bring items to the church to fill them.
Suggested gifts from Samaritan’s Purse include pens, pencils, crayons, writing pads, coloring books, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, jump ropes, a toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, t-shirts, socks and a personal note.
Julie and Katie send hard candy in water bottles, allowing the bottles to double as a container for the candy and something to hold water after.
They do not want used or damaged items, war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures, chocolate, food, out-of-date candy, liquids, lotions, medications, vitamins, breakable items, or aerosol cans.
Boxes should include $7 for shipping and postage.
For more information on how to pack a box and what to include, visit www.samaritanspurse.org. To drop off boxes, swing by Calvary Baptist Church, 1050 Yampa Ave., from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and until noon on Sunday.
“Just knowing that a child will have a Christmas like they’ve never ever had before, and for one child to be reached by the love of God is priceless,” Julie said. “How do you put a price on a child’s happiness?”
Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org