11/9/2017 2:56:00 PM New Hebron sets shoebox record Drop-off dates for Operation Christmas Child are coming up next week.
Charles McDonald helps New Hebron Christian School students put the finishing touches on their Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Kindergarten through eighth-grade students packed the shoeboxes with hats, gloves and soap among other items Tuesday afternoon. Volunteers Tamara Tuttle and Ashley McDonald led this year’s project, with the help from students’ families and teachers, which totaled a new record of 246 shoeboxes. Operation Christmas Child donations from the community will be dropped off next week at Robinson Free Methodist Church. (Blake Nash photo)
A new record was set and Christmas joy was spread during Christmas shoebox packing for Operation Christmas Child at New Hebron Christian School Tuesday.
Students in kindergarten through eighth grade gathered in the school gymnasium to pack shoeboxes with items for children in need such as hats, gloves, soap and more.
A total of 246 boxes were packed by the students and others, parent volunteer Tamara Tuttle announced.
"We packed 130 boxes at school with an additional 30 packed at preschool," Tuttle said. "Two individual families personally packed an additional 86 so we packed a total 246 for NHCS this year, which is a new record for us!"
NHCS first started participating in this project in 2011 when a math teacher used it for a class project. For the last two years Tuttle and fellow volunter Ashley McDonald have taken the reins locally for this nationwide gift-giving event.
Operation Christmas Child is an annual event of Samaritan's Purse, an evangelical Christian humanitarian aid organization that provides aid to people in physical need as a key part of Christian missionary work. The organization has facilities in the United States, Australia, Germany, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Tuttle said last year's shoeboxes were sent to Africa, destination of this year's boxes, too. Because of the distance, the shoeboxes will probably not arrive until Easter, rather than Christmas. But volunteers hope they still bring the joy of Christmas to the children who receive them.
"All items are donated by kid's families, with remaining items needed purchased with money raised by a meal fundraiser hosted by teachers Kara Roberts and Kelly Laino," Tuttle said.
NHCS will not be the last community school or organization to fill shoeboxes this year. Everyone who has chosen to volunteer for Operation Christmas Child this year has been making preparations for their drop-off dates next week.
The drop-off center is at Robinson Free Methodist Church on South Robb Street, with the first date set for 9 a.m. to noon Monday. Shoeboxes will need to be dropped off between 4 and 7 p.m. Nov. 14 and 16. Boxes will be collected between 9 a.m. and noon Nov. 15 and 17.
Two drop-off times are scheduled for Nov. 18 - 9 a.m. to noon and 2 to 5 p.m.
On Nov. 19, boxes can be dropped off from 1 to 4 p.m. The final drop-off period will be 9 to 11 a.m. Nov. 20.
Volunteer Rita Henry said she is hoping this year's total exceeds last years.
"Last year we brought in 3,331 boxes," Henry said. "This year our goal is to do one more than last year. With your help and God's we can do it."
Candy and toothpaste are asked not to be donated.
Some items donated every year include hats to keep bugs out of hair, gloves for 10-year old children to pull hot food from ovens, which they do with or without gloves, and soap and string.