Shoe boxes filled with joy

MARQUETTE- Marquette County shipped off 1,351 shoe boxes full of goodies for children in Third World countries as part of Operation Christmas Child Sunday.

Operation Christmas Child is a national event that allows local churches to collect shoe boxes filled with toys, school supplies, clothes and hygiene products. These shoeboxes are then shipped to Samaritan’s Purse International Relief. Operation Christmas Child was started in 1993.

“It’s wonderful that each year we increase the number of boxes we get,” said Katherine Olson, Operation Christmas Child coordinator of Marquette County. “Even when the economy is down, people are still giving.”

Last year Marquette County sent off 1,308 boxes full of supplies. According to Olson, once the boxes are shipped off they are then sent over to Third World villages where they are handed out to children from ages 2 to 14.

“The missionaries count the children in the villages by gender and age then the right amount of boxes are brought over and distributed,” she said. “The children are so excited to get these gifts. It may be the only gift they get like this in their lives.”

Olson said no child gets a shoe box twice because the missionaries go to different villages every year. Operation Christmas Child also give the missionaries a chance to teach others about God and Jesus Christ, Olson said.

“After the children receive their shoe boxes they are told a Christmas story about Jesus Christ,” she said.

Operation Christmas Child in Marquette County was based at the Silver Creek Church in Harvey. On Sunday, about 10 volunteers showed up and helped load a FedEx truck, which was driven by a volunteer, with all of the shoe boxes.

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243.