Home Mullica Hill News Volunteers hope to make a lasting impact with Operation Christmas Child

Volunteers hope to make a lasting impact with Operation Christmas Child

Church volunteers at Trinity United Methodist Church dedicated several hours to sort and pack the hundreds of donated shoeboxes.

Scott Rambo is pictured greeting a man after he delivered two completed shoeboxes on Nov. 17 (Krystal Nurse/The Sun).


The Sun

From pencils, to crayons, to extra T-shirts from its Vacation Bible School, Trinity United Methodist Church in Mullica Hill filled and packed several hundred shoeboxes on Nov. 17 to be sent to Samaritan’s Purse on Nov. 27, Dec. 1 and Dec. 6 as part of the organization’s annual Operation Christmas Child shoebox drive.

Volunteers Kay Hutchinson and Laura Guth and Pastor Scott Rambo dedicated a handful of hours from Nov. 11 to 17 for the charity drive as they received boxes from churchgoers and Gloucester County residents.

They’ve received roughly 500 completed boxes as of Nov. 17, according to Hutchinson.

“We actually distributed shoeboxes in the beginning of November,” said Rambo. “We passed out over 500 shoeboxes to our congregation and different people took a box or two, or five or how ever many in their family and then they packed them at home and brought them back.”

People have stopped by with boxes from towns such as Turnersville, Williamstown, Woolwich and Swedesboro. Rambo added a church in Swedesboro stopped by with 218 completed boxes.

The three said they’ve seen items such as jump ropes, pencil pouches, washcloths, toothbrushes and even photos of the person who packed the box. Hutchinson added one of the more unique items she heard about was a deflated soccer ball in a shoebox because “every kid loves to play soccer all around the world.”

A cardboard box containing several completed shoeboxes is pictured along with instructions to follow completed boxes on Nov. 17 (Krystal Nurse/The Sun).

“‘You deflate the ball, and include a pump, and even if you can’t include a pump, they said that most every town or village has somebody who can pump up bicycle tires because bicycles are often a means of transportation for people,” said Hutchinson, referencing a meeting with the organization.

Kids as young as 2 and as old as 14 receive the boxes all over the globe. Those in the 10 to 14 age range have received toolkits or sewing materials because, as Rambo put it, “a lot of those kids are dropping out of school and they work to help their families and stuff.”

The volunteers have met with some people who used to get the shoeboxes and have said there have been children who received cold weather items and were eternally grateful as they were adopted to families in the U.S. and lived in harsh climates such as Buffalo.

At the church, Rambo said they have around 25 volunteers who help sort and pack the boxes, and then nearly 30 sign up on the church’s website, www.TrinityMullicaHill.org, to go to Baltimore to help in unloading pallets, processing boxes and making sure they do not contain prohibited items such as liquids, war-related toys, mirrors or candy.

An oversized shoebox sent from Samaritan’s Purse advertising where people can drop off their completed boxes (Krystal Nurse/The Sun).

“The boxes have changed over the years with what we can put into them,” said Hutchinson. “We have T-shirts from Vacation Bible School and they were left over, and so we’ll put in a clean shirt for children to wear.“

“If the box has a little bit more space, they’ll add more things to it and send it down,” said Rambo. “It’s impressive to see the volume. I think, last year, Operation Christmas Child processed and distributed 11 million boxes around the world.”

Hutchinson said Samaritan’s Purse doesn’t stop with the Operation Christmas Child. It will often go to areas affected by natural disasters in the U.S. and pass out toiletries to families or help rebuild destroyed buildings.

The three remarked on how giving back to others provides them with satisfaction from seeing people’s faces light up when receiving an unexpected good deed.

“It’s always an encouragement to be able to give something back to someone in need,” said Rambo. “God has blessed us so much, and we believe that he blessed us so that we can be a blessing to others. So, for me, it’s always an encouragement to see the joy that it gives to people when we can — even in a small way — reach out, and in a tangible way.”

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