First Baptist Church in Whitesburg collected a record number of gift-filled shoeboxes for distribution to needy children worldwide.
Organizers were surprised when a total of 13,628 shoeboxes were sent to the church.
“That is simply amazing,” 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. “We heard many inspiring testimonies, met so many new friends and most of all have had a part in the journey of a special shoebox gift to so many children.”
Last year, the Whitesburg church collected 11,420 of the eight 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 90 different countries, including the United States.
This is the ninth year the church has served as the Operation Christmas Child collection center for southeast Kentucky/ southwest Virginia. Local schools and community and church groups as well as individuals and businesses dropped off shoeboxes at the church until Nov. 21. 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.
“ The Whitesburg First Baptist Church Operation Christmas Child Team would like to thank everyone that helped contribute to the success of our 2011 National Collection Week,” said Adams.