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By Bev Odom/The Red River Sun—
WELLINGTON – “All things considered, we are pretty pleased with the 121 shoeboxes assembled this year,” said Genevieve Patterson, committee member of Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child ministry at First Baptist Church. “We usually do more but it just didn’t happen this crazy year because of the pandemic. Our goal is 200, and last year we had 175.”
Patterson along with Rosa Carter, Sharon Covey, Glenna Fourmentin, Wendy Langford, Katherine Mote and Sallie O’Hair served as the 2020 shoebox committee.
Wellington First Baptist began participating in the international Samaritan’s Purse project over 20 years ago under the direction of long-term Sunday school teacher Rubye Hodges.
“At some point, we involved the whole congregation,” Patterson said. “The congregation gives the $9 per box for shipping and also helps by providing some of the items.”
The boxes are packed for either a boy or a girl and separated into three different age groups. The church places a note with its address in the package too in case the recipient is able send a note back.
For 2020, National Collection Week took place Nov. 16 – 23 with over 4,000 drop-off locations. Patterson noted that the 121 shoeboxes were delivered to Shamrock then taken to Dallas. All boxes end up in Boone, N.C., home of Samaritan’s Purse.
Shoe box items include gifts such as a stuffed animal, personal care items, clothing and accessories, crafts and activities, toys and a message about God’s love for them.
“The shoebox may be the only gift a child has ever received,” Patterson said. “It’s a good ministry.”
Although the global COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted everyday life for millions of people around the world, Samaritan’s Purse continues to share the eternal hope of the gospel.
According to the Samaritan’s Purse website, Franklin Graham has led the ministry for over 40 years. After sharing the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.” That is the mission of Samaritan’s Purse – to follow the example of Christ by helping those in need and proclaiming the hope of the Gospel.