First Posted: 11/24/2009
Bannertown Baptist Church demonstrated some of the hustle and bustle that the holiday season is known for Monday morning.
As the collection point for the Surry County Operation Christmas Child campaign, the fellowship hall was a veritable hotspot during the final two hours slated for area organizations to drop off all of their shoeboxes.
As the representatives rolled in with anywhere from nine shoeboxes to more than 200, church volunteers proved to be a well-oiled machine as they sorted, labeled and boxed all of the goods before loading them into the back of a truck donated by Mike Jones Produce. As the drop-off point, the volunteers were responsible for counting every box that came in as well as making sure they were properly packaged and labeled before packing them into larger cardboard boxes for transport.
From Bannertown, the boxes will be driven to Winston-Salem before heading to Charlotte, the regions processing center. From there, the boxes will go to children around the world who are in need. Each box is earmarked for either a boy or a girl in one of three age groups ranging from 2 to 14 years of age.
Boxes can contain anything that will fit, from small toys and games to hygiene items like toothpaste and toothbrushes to clothing items like socks or hats. Some families even choose to include a note to the child telling a little about themselves. In some cases, a child may even write back to the family whose box they received.
Sometimes, maybe out of all the boxes, one child will write us a letter back thanking us for the presents, said Sarah Simpson of Bannertown Baptist Church.
Ronnie Simpson remembered getting a letter this past summer that was written in a foreign language. He took it around the community, trying to figure out what it said. Finally, he found someone who could translate it and learned that it was a letter from a child in Ukraine, thanking him for the presents.
This year, Surry County will send 2,755 boxes around the world. Fancy Gap Baptist Church prepared 250 boxes and Bannertown Baptist Church prepared 200. Last year, more than 8.2 million boxes were sent out. However, even those who brought only a few boxes will make an impact. For those participating, the reward is knowing that they have helped make Christmas a little brighter for children.
If our kids could realize that some kids get nothing when they get so much, said Sarah of the impact of the program. We got interested in a small way at first. Then we started going to Charlotte and we wanted to get involved in a big way. I think it makes us closer when we work together as a church.
The program also offers people a chance to spread their beliefs to the children who receive the boxes. Many of the churches put information in the boxes about God and Jesus. The program offers follow-up lessons to the children who are interested in learning more about Christianity.
A lot of these kids get saved with these boxes, said Sarah. Theyre getting something special in the gifts, but theyre also getting the gift of Jesus Christ.
Bannertown Baptist plans to take a group of volunteers to the processing center in Charlotte in December to help with all of the packages that are coming in and making sure they get sent out on time.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.