AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Operation Christmas Child is now underway, offering gifts of love to children in need around the world.

“It draws in so many volunteers and I love to see that – people working together in this effort to get these shoe boxes out to the children,” said Wendell Duncan, Warren Baptist Church Coordinator for Operation Christmas Child. “Churches have been built for this effort, so that’s what I enjoy seeing.”

For 20 years, Warren Baptist Church has been the major collection center of shoe boxes for seven local counties. 

Duncan says that the shoeboxes are more than a simple present. 

“Not only just a gift, but knowing that it’s a tangible expression of God’s love for them,” said Duncan. “And many of these children have never received a gift before – it’s the first one they’ll ever get.”

Samaritan’s Purse began Operation Christmas Child in 1993, when it sent 28,000 shoeboxes to children in war-torn Bosnia.

Since then, the operation has evolved to send gifts to children in over 170 countries and territories, reaching almost 200 million children to date.  

“Last year, we were able to do 2,203 boxes,” said Sandy Engelberg, a member of First Baptist Church in Langley, South Carolina. “And this is with a church that runs with about 45 in Sunday school.”

Church volunteers in Aiken are up to almost 2,500 shoeboxes this year.

“It’s just a story of a small church that the Lord has blessed,” said Engelberg. “And a group of people are working together for the same goal. And the results, just every year, continue to escalate beyond anybody’s imagination.”

And surely beyond every child’s imagination.

Operation Christmas Child has donated over 10.5 million shoeboxes over the years.

And soon, children around the world will once again receive a shoebox full of toys, school supplies, and hygiene items, as well as a special message of love and hope. 
Area locations will be accepting donations until Sunday. And at Warren Baptist, you have until 5pm on Monday to offer your gift to a child. For more information, visit https://www.samaritanspurse.org/.