Operation Christmas Child has sailed out of Warren County for another year. Collection week ended Monday morning with 2,191 shoeboxes being donated at First United Methodist Church.
“We weren’t that far off our goal,” said Debbie Patterson, First United Methodist Church employee and program organizer. “Our goal was 2,604 originally. That was lowered to 2,292. So we are only 101 off. That’s pretty good.”
The shoeboxes collected locally are being shipped to the regional distribution site in Cookeville before traveling to the main distribution center in Atlanta. Once processed, the boxes are destined for children in Ecuador, Ghana, Gabon, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, India, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.
Along with local businesses, organizations, schools and individuals, approximately 25 churches participated.
“We were so pleased at the community response,” said Patterson. “We think more people are aware of the program. We had more people tell us this was the first year they participated.”
Among the new participants was a young girl approximately 4 years old who put together a shoebox with her mother.
“She was so precious,” said Patterson. “She came walking in with that shoebox, but she wouldn’t let it go. We had to coax her with cookies and cocoa. It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.”
The truck used to transport the boxes to Cookeville was donated by Preston and Jodie Greer of Preston Trucking.