At Grayslake church, gift-giving mission starts with a shoebox
By Judy Masterson firstname.lastname@example.org September 21, 2013 7:39PM
Operation Christmas Child ambassador Evilyn Pinnow, 13, of Fort Atkinson, Wis., delivered the 100-millionth shoebox to a 5-year-old girl in the Dominican Republic last winter. | JUDY MASTERSON~SUN-TIMES MEDIA
Founded in 1993, the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child, expects to collect another 9.8 million shoebox gifts this year.
Givers can build a box online, year-round. For more information, visit samaritanspurse.org and click on Operation Christmas Child, Donors can also learn where their shoebox gifts are delivered by using the donation form found on the website.
Updated: October 24, 2013 6:26AM
A whole lot of love and hope can fit inside a shoebox, a fact proven over two decades by Operation Christmas Child, a national effort fueled locally with the help of Crossroads Church in Grayslake.
The church — located on Route 137, just east of Midlothian Road — held its annual celebration kickoff last Saturday for the charity, which has delivered more than 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes to poor children in more than 100 countries. Crossroads will help collect, along with eight other area locations, an estimated 26,000 shoebox gifts from Grayslake residents over the next two months.
“Our church is very mission-oriented,” said Crossroads member Lynn Hays, a collection center coordinator for Christmas Child, which is a project of Samaritan’s Purse. “For people who can’t go on a foreign mission, this is a mission trip in a box. They can participate by praying for that child, praying for that box. It connects everybody. Even if you can’t go, for roughly $20, you can show that child love, and plant that seed.”
Boxes, which are to be packed with small toys, crafts, school supplies, articles of clothing and other non-perishable, non-liquid treats, will be collected by Crossroads the week of Nov. 18-25, then processed, prepared and sent on a journey to children across the world by boat, plane, train, even elephant.
Operation Christmas Child ambassador Evilyn Pinnow, 13, of Fort Atkinson, Wis., in February delivered the 100-millionth shoebox to a 5-year-old girl in the Dominican Republic.
“Her name was Brenda,” said Pinnow, who attended the Crossroads event and recalled that the girl was infatuated with a toy she pulled from her box − a stuffed lamb that played the children’s song, “Yes, Jesus loves me.”
“She held it up to her face and looked at it over and over again and hugged it,” said Pinnow, who added that Christmas Child is also a way to evangelize.
“There’s a ton of kids around the world who don’t know about Jesus and most of them have never seen a gift before,” Pinnow said. “They don’t even have the basic necessities. I want to be able to show them love, so they can hear about Jesus.”