Did you ever wonder, where do all those Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes go after being packed by so many generous folk each year?
We posted here about the shoebox Penny helped to pack last year: Packing a Shoebox With Love.
Then in November of last year, 2017, my clothespin doll, Violet, got to travel with our friends Don and Cindy, to visit the biggest Shoebox Packing Center in the country, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Would you like to see what they were up to?
Volunteer at a Processing Center
“Millions of shoeboxes are collected during National Collection Week, the third week in November every year. Before these special gifts can bring hope and joy to children around the world, each one has to be carefully inspected and made ready for overseas shipment by volunteers like you. You can help prepare shoeboxes for delivery by volunteering at one of our eight processing centers across the United States. About 80,000 volunteers serve annually at our processing centers.”
Quoted from the Samaritan’s Purse website – here.
There is a long line waiting to get started today, come on in and see what happens here!
Once we check in, we get assigned to our station. There are 60 stations in this plant, with 12 volunteers working per station, 6 on each side of the bench.
Each shoebox that was packed, (maybe in your hometown) is brought here to be inspected. The inspectors open each box to see, first, if there are any forbidden items inside. See the list of “inappropriate” items hanging there to remind them? This list changes sometimes depending on which country these shoeboxes will be going to. Filler items piled in those center baskets are available to replace anything that must be removed. As far as possible, each box still contains what the giver meant it to.
Violet found a friend. ♥
Once each shoebox passes inspection and is ready to go, it is taped shut and bundled into the waiting cardboard boxes.
Very often throughout the day a moment of silence is taken to stop all labors and pray unitedly for the packages being sent from here right now.
Cindy wrote: 11/27/17 “Becky, the boxes today are going to the Ukraine and Africa, we have processed 45,000 boxes so far today. Violet is taking in all the experience with us. This is an amazing project!!!”
Lunch Break. Taking a little rest.
Don is waiting with a tape gun where the cardboard boxes come down the conveyor belt to be piled into giant stacks.
Cindy helped to enter the tracking numbers for those who are following where their box is going in its travels.
The stacks of boxes are lifted by forklift and loaded onto semi trucks to move them on toward their final destinations.
A giant panel colorfully illustrates the travels of a shoebox.
Packing, Collection Centers, and then the Processing Center to prepare for shipping.
Worldwide Distribution, where leaders are trained to use “The Greatest Journey” and host outreach events where the Gospel is shared and the shoeboxes are handed out. Then this results in Discipleship and Multiplication – spreading the word and building churches.
The Greatest Journey
“After receiving shoebox gifts, many children are invited back to participate in our discipleship program, The Greatest Journey. Through this 12-lesson course, which includes Bible stories and Scripture memorization, they learn how to follow Christ in their daily lives as they share Him with friends and family. More than 14.9 million children have enrolled in this program since 2009.”The Greatest Journey
The little fellow in this giant poster below is holding a copy of “The Greatest Journey.”
What a great privilege it was when Franklin Graham himself stopped by to personally thank the volunteers here. There was a little program presented with skits and special music for everyone to enjoy.
Violet is here in the stack of wrapped packages on display in front of the speaker’s podium. A close up shot…
And a disant shot, can you still see her?
Merry, Merry Christmas to all!!
The Samaritan’s Purse Headquarters is located in Boone, North Carolina. There is a processing center here, but it is not as large as the one in Charlotte.
Here Cindy met with a guard and a few other volunteers by the Christmas tree.
These ladies, once upon a time, were blessed to recieve a shoebox when they were young. Now that they are grown, they have come to help others recieve them too!
Their shirts are printed to tell where they were living when they got their shoebox!
Here are a few displays of distant countries where the shoeboxes go. Merry Christmas to many children in many places around the globe!
Violet’s trip also included a wonderful visit to the Billy Graham Library.
This barn is a tribute to Billy Graham’s early days growing up on a dairy farm. Violet got to make friends with “Bessie the Talking Cow” !!
Billy Graham’s pulpit.
These happy ladies work in the house; they enjoyed meeting Violet and hearing about her travels.
Here is where Billy Graham’s Bible is kept.
I’m guessing this must be Billy Graham’s father. Here is a neat article on him. Billy Graham’s Father and the Prayer Heard Around the World.
Our church, The Genesee Country Church, here in New York, is just beginning to do more with the Shoebox collecting. Last year individuals filled 138 shoeboxes. This year we hosted a big packing party in the gym and filled 236 boxes. We are thankful for Cindy and Lois who have organized so much, and their enthusiasm is spreading!
Here Don is helping in the corner of our gym where the boxes are brought and each is prayed for, that God would guide it and bless the special child who recieves it.
Even the littlest ones were thrilled to pack a box and pray over it.
Chosen, prepared and sent with love.