1,500 shoeboxes collected in county

By DEMETRIUS THOMPSON,

Unlike last year, Newton County residents had a more centralized drop off location for the Operation Christmas Child program and it looks to have paid off.

Local OCC Coordinator Paula Wall said that as of Sunday afternoon the drop off center at Clarke-Venable Baptist Church had received more than 1,500 boxes of donations, and she expected more later on Sunday and on Monday morning.

“We’re so glad they decided to have it here and open it back up, and it’s been really good,” Wall said. “People have been really glad that we’re here because we’re closer than where they had to go last year. And all the local churches have donated from Union and Newton and Hickory, we’ve had them from all over.”

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. Each year the project collects shoebox gifts filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items to distribute to children worldwide who have been affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine. This year’s goal was to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach 12 million children, with 24,200 coming from the East Central Mississippi Area Team Area.