Shoe box gifts are part

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 21, 2000

of Pike County’s giving


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Nov. 20, 2000 10 PM

Christmas is about sharing and Pike Countians opened their hearts twice as wide this holiday season to fill shoe boxes for families living on shoestrings.

Churches and organizations throughout the county participated in Operation Christmas Child and filled more than 675 shoe boxes with gifts for children living in impoverished conditions. That number doubled the amount of shoe box gifts last year.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse which is headed by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham.

Last year more than three million shoe box gifts were delivered to children in more than 65 countries on five continents. The gifts were received by children from small cardboard huts in Honduras to war-ravaged villages in Kosovo, said Linda Adams, administrative assistant for the Salem-Troy Baptist Association where the boxes were loaded on vans Friday for delivery to Montgomery. From Montgomery, the boxes will be trucked to Atlanta where they will be packaged for overseas delivery.

"The Salem-Troy Baptist Association was the drop-off point for the shoe boxes but this was, by no means just a project of the association," Adams said. "This is a non-denominational project and many churches and organizations participated. The association office is in a central location and we had room to store the shoe boxes while the project was underway."

Adams said the increase in the number of shoe box gifts in Pike County kept pace with the sharing all across the United States and in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Finland and Australia where the number of shoe box gifts has nearly doubled every two years.

The shoe box gifts are one way that people can give gifts to children who have so little and give them in honor of Jesus’ birthday, Adams said.

A list of items that may be included in the shoe boxes includes toys and books, school supplies, hygiene items and miscellaneous items such as sealed hard candy, tee shirts, gloves and watches.

"Everyone seemed to enjoy filling a shoe box that will make some child’s Christmas very bright," Adams said. "This is the second year the Salem-Troy Baptist Association has participated in Operation Christmas Child, but some churches in the county have participated several years."

Adams said the reason for the the big increase in the number of boxes this year is the increased awareness of the project.

"Once people hear about Operation Christmas Child, they just want to be a part of it," she said. "We aren’t setting any goals for next year, but we do hope to increase the number of boxes from Pike County every year. This is a very worthwhile project and it’s one that everyone can be a part of."

Gospel literature in the child’s native language is included in each shoe box and those who send the gifts may also include their names and addresses.

"Several people received messages of thanks from the children who received their gifts last year," Adams said.

Jean Snoddy received a note from Roman of the Ukraine who lives in a small flat with his big family whom "I like very much."

"It makes you feel good to know that some small gesture of kindness is so greatly appreciated," Snoddy said. "Operation

Christmas Child is a wonderful program and I would encourage everyone to begin now thinking about next year and plan to make shoe box gifts part of their Christmas giving."