The First Baptist Church in Whitesburg surpassed its hefty goal of collecting 10,000 gift-filled shoeboxes for distribution to needy children worldwide.
Organizers were surprised when a total of 11,727 shoeboxes were sent to the church.
“I know that this is nothing short of seeing God’s hand move through the good giving people of southeast Kentucky and southwest Virginia,” said Lee Adams, a member of First Baptist Church of Whitesburg, who serves as area coordinator volunteer for southeast Kentucky and southwest Virginia’s Operation Christmas Child. “Not only did we meet our God-sized goal of 10,000, we went way over.”
Last year, the Whitesburg church collected 9,048 of the 8 million shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse headed by Franklin Graham. The shoeboxes filled with different toiletries, school supplies, candy, toys and other items are collected and distributed to needy children in 75 different countries, including the United States.
This is the seventh year the church has served as the Operation Christmas Child collection center for southeast Kentucky/southwest Virginia. Local schools, community and church groups as well as individuals and businesses dropped off shoeboxes at the church until Nov. 23. Volunteers from relay centers in Hazard, Lynch, Pikeville, Salyersville, Shelby Valley, Big Stone Gap, Va., and Wise, Va., also brought large quantities of shoeboxes that were collected at their sites.