Thursday, December 1, 2011

Joplin, Mo. Residents Donate over 12,000 Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes

The Christmas spirit is alive in Joplin, Mo. Residents of the tornado damaged town have seen their share of hardships this year, but it didn’t stop them from participating in Operation Christmas Child. They more than doubled the number of shoe box donations for the organization that sends gift filled shoe boxes to third world countries every Christmas.

OCC Collection Center Coordinator Della Bergen told The Christian Post that the damage from the tornado didn’t stop people from donating. People who had lost everything still came out and donated boxes because OCC is a yearly tradition for them. She said they told her they’re “not going to miss it this year just because of the tornado.”

In total, the town raised 12,520 shoe boxes, compared with last year’s 5,664. Bergen said one of the reasons for the jump in donations stems from the fact that many tornado victims had people they didn’t even know give them things to survive. In turn, this gave them a deeper understanding of what Operation Christmas Child is all about.

Samaritan's Purse’s rescue efforts after the tornado also helped raise awareness for the ministry, and people wanted to give back.

Those who dropped off boxes told Bergen that even though they were just getting back on their feet, they knew their problems were a temporary situation, but for the kids getting shoe boxes, nothing ever changes.

Many new churches signed on this year to help with the shoe boxes. Harmony Heights Baptist Church was hit by the tornado during a service and three of its members were killed. They lost all of their supplies for OCC in the disaster as well.


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