February 27, 2017
I am writing to thank and celebrate the residents of Franklin/Highlands and Macon County for spreading joy to children around the world this Christmas season. The generosity of Macon County volunteers, families and groups contributed a total of 4,766 shoebox gifts, paved the way for us to collect a total 18,719 shoebox gifts from all of our Western North Carolina Area (which includes Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon and Swain Counties) for the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child—the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind. Our International Total for 2016 is 11,485,662 Shoeboxes!
In October, we had the privilege of hearing the personal story of shoebox recipient Dania Yadago, who received a shoebox when she was 5 years old. She now lives and attends college in North Carolina, serving Operation Christmas Child as much as her busy schedule allows. In November, the Western North Carolina Collection Center at Holly Springs Baptist Church celebrated the Grand Opening of the 2016 Collection Week with a special ‘ribbon cutting’ and time of prayer! It was attended by County Commissioners Ronnie Beale, and Gary Shields, School Board Member, Fred Goldsmith, and Pastor Donnie Seagle, volunteers and guests! Area Coordinator June Trull shared some of the history of Holly Springs Baptist Church’s journey from becoming a Relay Center in 2008, to a Relay-Relay Center, to a Collection Center for Western North Carolina and 11-year-old Callie Barnett, from Windy Gap Baptist Church, cut the ribbon to open the WNC Collection Center. Macon County’s other drop-off location First Baptist Church of Highlands, celebrated it’s first year as a drop-off location. Long time volunteers Sergio Barranco and Angelica Garcia did a great job as coordinators.
The gift-filled shoeboxes are tangible expressions of God’s love for children around the world suffering from poverty, natural disaster, war, disease and famine. These children, many of whom have never received a gift before, learn they are loved and not forgotten. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 135 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 150 countries and territories.
It’s not too late for people to make a difference. Though the Macon County drop-off locations are closed until November 2017, filled shoeboxes are collected year-round at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, North Carolina. Additionally, anyone can conveniently pack a personalized Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift at samaritanspurse.org/occ. Information about year-round volunteer opportunities can also be found on the website or e-mail us at email@example.com.
Thank you again to everyone who participated in this project and for those who do so year after year. These simple gifts, packed with love, send a message of hope and continue to transform the lives of children worldwide.
June Trull, Area Coordinator
Western North Carolina Area Team
Operation Christmas Child
**Any time is a good time to pack a shoe box!!**