Operation Christmas Child is under way and has been since 1995.
Each year at Pee Dee Methodist Church in Rockingham, folks gather donations and pack shoe boxes to be mailed around the world to needy children. In 1995, Hilda Langley and Hazel Phillips helped lead the project and packed around 211 boxes with toys and other goods.
On Monday, the annual charity effort picked back up.
“The majority of the church people were there,” said church member Carlton Hawkins. “They served a chili supper and we packed the boxes up. We collected items all year long, and each month there were items suggested and those were stored at the church.”
Hawkins also supplied the chili, and others donated drinks, cornbread and desserts.
“This is a ministry that Pee Dee Methodist Church is involved in,” said Pastor Michael Griffin, “which allows the members to reach beyond the local church in risk taking ministry, to be a part in the transformation in the lives of others.”
Fellowship was one of the benefits of the project that was lead by Art and Ina Beardsley this year.
“We do it pretty much every year,” said Ina Beardsley. “I was sort of drafted last minute — which I didn’t mind — to take charge. We would get a list of what we needed and we would head out and collect donations. We spent much of Monday making the boxes because they come flat and need to be folded. Then we packed the boxes with everything from socks to coloring books.”
According to Beardsley, the church packed 100 boxes on Monday, and those have already been sent out.
“Everyone has been so generous to give their money, time and items. We packed things like toothpaste and toothbrushes, soap, washcloths, socks, hats, gloves, and small toys,” she said.
Some of the boxes are packed for a specific gender or age in mind, with the two to four-year-olds receiving sippie-cups and small blankets, if there was space.
“My husband made 68 wooden cars that went into boys’ boxes,” said Beardsley. “They don’t have paint on them, so they are safe; just pine toys.”
Beardsley said the event itself was fun, and it’s something the couple and the church look forward to each year.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.