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If the (shoe) box is empty, fill it

The empty shoe box had been wrapped with colorful red Christmas paper.

Michele Schlough, Operation Christmas Child coordinator at First Christian Church of Edmond gave me my orders:

Go ...

Fill the box with gifts ...

Become part of an international ministry taking the Gospel to children around the globe through the magic of Christmas.

So that's just what I did.

I had watched as Schlough and other volunteers walked around tables piled high with assorted small gifts and toiletry items and selected things to put in the shoe boxes. It was in the middle of July at First Christian-Edmond, yet we were already in the festive holiday mood.

The prospect of gift-giving will do that to you!

I chose to fill my shoe box with gifts for a boy between the ages of 10 and 14. We placed a gender label on it so that volunteers distributing it would know it was for a young boy. 

I selected a new hand cloth and toothbrush and tooth paste from a table of hygiene items, plus a small stick of deodorant. I also chose a cute new T-shirt that I thought a young boy might like.

My own two sons are grown but I tried to remember what types of little gifts I tried to get them for Christmas, things like stocking stuffers and other small items I placed under the Christmas tree for them.

I selected pencils and a notebook, and of course an actual storybook to place in my box because anything to promote reading is a must. 

Then I just looked for items that might bring a smile to my young friend's face, wherever he is when he opens this box of love and cheer: a harmonica, crayons and a small Pokemon ball.

There were a few other things that went in the box until Schlough determined that I should quit so I could close it up.

My box was placed on a table with other boxes filled with gifts.

It was Christmas in July.  

Project details

Operation Christmas Child is known as the world's largest Christmas project. As part of the Samaritan's Purse initiative, millions of gift-filled shoe boxes are hand delivered to children around the world. The gifts are typically the youths' first experience with the Gospel.

Individuals, businesses, churches and other organizations pack the boxes with small gifts. First Christian-Edmond is a relay center, or drop-off site, for metro-area residents and groups that have joined the effort.

Carla Hinton

Religion Editor

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Carla Hinton

Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide... Read more ›

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