A successful operation in Haywood

Shoe box donations up 20 percent
Nov 27, 2012

While the holiday season is often a busy and stressful time of year, it is also a time of generosity and giving, especially to those less fortunate. And already this year, the people of Haywood County have not disappointed.

Operation Christmas Child, organized in Haywood County by Bill and Becky Jarrell, is an annual program in which participants fill shoeboxes with donations of toys and gifts for children. Those boxes make their way around the world through Operation Christmas Child, which gives the gifts to needy children as part of a larger Christian ministry.

This year Bill said not only did the community match the number of boxes that were sent last year, but they increased the amount by 20 percent for a total of 3,700 boxes.

He credits the increase to a heightened awareness of the program through local media stories and presentations he and Becky have given in the community. More churches and organizations participated in Operation Christmas Child than ever before, and Bill said he thinks many people have come to understand that the program is about more than the presents.

“Through this simple gift, local pastors in countries receiving shoeboxes are equipped to minister to a child and his or her family. Equally important, the children are enrolled in a 12-lesson discipleship program called ‘The Greatest Journey,’ where they learn to develop personal faith,” he said.

Now, thanks to the generosity of so many in Haywood County, many more children will be able to participate in Operation Christmas Child.

If you missed the chance to donate to Operation Christmas Child this year, there are still many opportunities to help make this a memorable Christmas for a child.

Locally, The Salvation Army operates the Angel Tree Program and Haywood Christian Ministry organizes the Project Christmas Love program, both of which provide help for families in need at Christmas time. Trees with tags can be found in many local stores and businesses and it is a simple matter to pick one up, purchase the clothing and one toy listed on the tag, and then return the gifts by the due date.

Making a child’s Christmas a little brighter, whether locally or in another country, is a great way to give back, and it is good to see so many answering the call.