Local shoebox recipient shares first-hand account of impact of shoebox gift

Published 8:11 am Friday, August 10, 2018

Over the years, Northeast Tennessee residents have been a part of Operation Christmas Child, a global project that shares the true meaning of Christmas with millions of boys and girls around the world. Local volunteers, such as a 12-year-old girl who spent her 12th birthday packing over 100 shoeboxes, are gearing up for this collection season where the community aims to reach their 40,650 shoebox gift goal. These shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items, will contribute to the project’s goal of reaching more than 11 million children in Jesus’ Name.
On Aug. 25, volunteers from around the Tri-Cities area will gather to kick off this collection season at their local Operation Christmas Child Countdown Event. At this event, the community will get to hear from Hermann Finch, who is one of seven children raised by his mother in Zimbabwe. Finch’s father was seldom around, and his mother struggled to afford basic necessities. Finch often had to beg to make ends meet. He still remembers the embarrassment he felt when people recognized him. When Finch was in sixth grade, he and his siblings were invited to a Christmas play at a local church. Afterward, the children were given shoebox gifts. Finch’s gift was the first he had ever received. Soon after receiving the shoebox gift, Finch lost his father. The love he felt from the people who had sent him the gift brought him comfort in a time of deep sorrow and grief. Finch is using his story to encourage and remind the volunteers of the huge impact these simple shoebox gifts have on the lives of children around the world in the Name of Jesus.
Tri-Cities residents are invited to Grace Fellowship Church of Kingsport on Saturday, Aug. 25, from 10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. to hear Finch’s first-hand account of the impact that a simple shoebox gift made in his life.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call (615) 962-7145, or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through “Follow Your Box” and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select gifts matched to a child’s specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 157 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

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