During Sunday service at Bainbridge First Baptist Church while adults are in the sanctuary, children are in junior church learning about the act of giving.
The children took part in the annual Samaritan’s Purse Project, Operation Christmas Child, Nov. 13 to send gift-filled shoeboxes to children around the world.
Bobbi Strom, the logistics team dropoff leader for the church, manages the shoebox collection and is in gift-giving mode all year long as she collects items for the November packing event.
The kids line up along a wall of tables topped with items any child would love. They begin filling shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and personal hygiene products to send to places unknown with the hope that it will bring joy to the child who receives the small gift from BI.
Strom, her son, Aaron, and the pastor’s wife, Rachel Garrard, help the children pack the red and green boxes. They packed 83 boxes. It’s something they’ve been doing for more than 15 years.
All the shoeboxes are packed into three big shipping boxes, Strom thanked the children and explained that now girls and boys around the world will receive a Christmas gift when they might otherwise not have.
The generosity doesn’t stop there. In the sanctuary, there are boxes destined for college students living across the country filled with snacks, supplies and reminders of home—even ones who didn’t leave the island and are learning online.
Strom said they also send care packages to missionaries that the congregation supports.
“We do this every year.” It’s one way that this small congregation on BI is making an impact here and abroad. “Every time that someone’s away, they get a care package.”
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 124 million children in more than 150 countries and territories. For many, it is the first gift they have ever received.