The power of a simple gift

Image: Samaritan’s Purse — The First United Methodist Church is one of three churches in town that is hosting “Operation Christmas Child”.

Samaritan’s Purse — The First United Methodist Church is one of three churches in town that is hosting “Operation Christmas Child”. (Anne Sutherland)

You might think it is a little early to talk about Christmas and when you go shopping for Halloween candy, the store’s plans of early decorating or seasonal music might even irritate you. However, you might consider as of October 6, it is 80 days (or 11 and a half weeks) before December 25. Samaritan’s Purse is an organization that can help you get on the right track.

Operation Christmas Child began its legacy in 1993. Since then, children all over the world have been pleasantly surprised with filled shoeboxes. According to their website, Samaritan’s Purse has delivered more than 61 million shoeboxes full of items kids could use or play with.

This year, the First United Methodist Church of Italy is again hosting donations, along with First Baptist and Central Baptist. It is all very simple. Use an empty shoebox or small plastic container. Determine if your recipient will be a boy or girl; age 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14. You simply fill the box with age appropriate gifts. Donate $7 for each shoebox prepared to help cover shipping. Place a rubber band around each closed shoebox, add a prayer for the child and Samaritan’s Purse will deliver for you. The Methodist Church will take all the Christmas shoeboxes to the collection site before November 17.

There are needy children everywhere and the shoebox will help plant a seed. Each gift is a tangible expression of God’s love and with every gift given, the child will also receive a booklet explaining God’s acceptance and everlasting life in their own language. What a wonderful gift for a child who has been in poverty, war or disaster. You could call it “The Power of a Simple Gift” or the gift of hope.

If you are interested in helping, please contact Rev. Beverly Hamilton at 972-483-6335 or for more information go to There are gift suggestions and a list of things not to include.

“Operation Christmas Child is a great way to bring joy and the Good News of Jesus Christ to children in need of hope,” says Franklin Graham, President of Samaritan’s Purse. Children of all ages can help with this project. What better way is there to teach someone you love the true meaning of Christmas and pass that love on to someone else?