Volunteers spread Christmas around the world
Published 11:19 am Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Is it ever too soon to be thinking about Christmas?
It is a year-round project for Teresa Hodgkin and Sharon Brush, who volunteer with Operation Christmas Child and help organize collections for Clark and five surrounding counties.
In 2017, more than 10,500 boxes for children overseas passed through Winchester’s First Baptist Church on North Highland Street as the drop off location for the Boonesboro Area.
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“We’d like to see those numbers increase,” Hodgkin said. “Our goal this year is 11,600.”
Operation Christmas Child, which is part of Samaritan’s Purse, hits high gear the week of Nov. 12-19, when boxes begin being delivered to Winchester from Madison, Bath, Montgomery, Estill and Menifee counties, as well as Clark County.
That’s when the most volunteers are needed, they said. The boxes are double-checked before they are loaded onto a waiting truck for delivery to distribution centers.
“We have so much fun,” Hodgkin said. “It’s an exciting project.”
The boxes, which are packed by groups or individuals, can include a wide variety of items including clothes, toy cars, stickers, sunglasses, toothbrushes, school supplies or small games among many, many other things before being shipped to children in need around the globe. Each box also includes information about Jesus Christ in the recipient’s native language.
“I love what the box does,” Hodgkin said. “It’s the box that keeps giving.”
Hodgkin got involved about five years ago.
“We were sitting in church when (the pastor) said we were looking for someone” to take over as site leader,” Hodgkin said. “I got a feeling like it’s supposed to be me. I called the person and said, ‘Tell me all about it.’ I said, ‘Oh no, I can’t do all that’ and let it go.”
Hodgkin finally agreed after getting a follow-up call from her pastor. She started as a drop-off team leader before moving up to the site leader a couple years ago.
“I feel so blessed to be part of it,” she said. “I love being challenged.”
For more information about Operation Christmas Child, go to www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child.