Samaritan’s Purse

The other day I got a letter from Samaritan’s Purse.  It told about the opportunity to volunteer at one of six collection/distribution centers for Operation Christmas Child.  If you have never heard about it, every fall churches all over the nation collect shoeboxes filled with children’s toys, school supplies and candy to send to children in third world countries who would not otherwise receive a Christmas gift.  For many of the children, this is the first gift they have EVER received.  Anyway, I was all excited and contacted the three closest distribution centers to where I live.  I was amazed to find all the volunteer slots were already filled, and had been filled a week after registration opened.  Well, I thought, I will surely get my registration in early next year.  I really WANT to be part of this–just once anyway.

Who are the people who will come hundreds of miles, pay their own transportation expenses and their own hotel bills to work in a distribution warehouse?  They are families, church groups, youth groups, college groups, grandmas and grandpas, and well, just about anybody you can imagine who can afford to travel, or else lives in the same city as the distribution warehouse.  People actually plan vacations around doing this.  What do they do?  They go through each and every box to make sure the gifts are age-appropriate and safe, sort according to age and sex, wrap bundles in plastic, pack bundles in shipping boxes, and load trucks.  Not exactly glamorous work.  But, they “whistle while they work” literally and figuratively.  They love the feeling of being a part of something bigger than they are.  They love knowing that some little kids who have never had a Christmas will have one this year.  They are 65,000 strong, and they handled 7.5 MILLION shoeboxes (2007 statistics).  Hats off to Samaritan’s Purse, and Operation Christmas Child!

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