Local churches involved in Operation Christmas Child

Published 4:01 pm Monday, November 12, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Operation Christmas Child national collection week is Nov. 12-19.

However, for at least two churches in Chilton County efforts to fill show boxes with gifts for children who may never have received a present in their life is a yearlong endeavor.

Aimee Sumrall of Union Grove Baptist Church said while the church has supported Operation Christmas Child for several years, last year was the first year they started a year-round focus on the project.

Union Gove was influenced to make a year-round focus by a talk given by Beth Roscher from Providence Baptist Church in Jemison.

“Her church collects year-round, and they pack over 1,000 boxes,” Sumrall said.

Sumrall said Union Grove knew they couldn’t do quite that many, but set a goal for 102, with 17 in each age and gender category.

Each month a group at the church focused on buying a different item.

“We keep it organized throughout the year,” Sumrall said.

At the beginning of the year she developed a plan to purchase specific things each month balancing more expensive and less expensive items.

One month the group focused on raising funds for the $9 suggested donation to cover shipping for each box. The initial plan had been to hold several fundraisers, but the team was so successful with the first one that they did not need to.

The team held the pastor for “ransom” before a church service until enough funds were raised.

“We were trying to raise $250 that day, and we ended up raising $917,” Sumrall said.

Sumrall said she first heard about Operation Christmas Child as a teenager and has enjoyed organizing the efforts at Union Grove.

“I have kids and if they didn’t have anything to open at Christmas that would just break my heart,” Sumrall said. “And so, this is just a little something we can do to give kids a good Christmas.”

The plans are for the year-round emphasis to continue at Union Grove.

Local collection points include West End Baptist Church, Verbena Baptist Church and Church at Bethel. For information on drop off times, visit samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/drop-off-locations.

Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse focused on sharing the story of Jesus with children while bringing gifts to children in countries across the world.