Life Care President Beecher Hunter explained the changing role during a recent meeting of the Ministerial Association.
While the organization will continue to participate as a national sponsor, individual Life Care facilities will no longer serve as collection points. However, The Life Care Campbell Center here in Cleveland will still fill that role.
First Baptist Church Cleveland will also be a drop-off location for the boxes.
“There is not a rift between us and Samaritan’s Purse,” Hunter said. “From the beginning, when Samaritan’s Purse started Operation Christmas Child they wanted churches to be the relay centers.”
Hunter said the facilities will continue to participate by preparing their own boxes.
In a letter to community leaders, Hunter said the change, “allows our associates to focus more time and energy on our highest priority, the care and well-being of our residents, at a time when health care is facing government-mandated changes.”
Hunter told the Ministerial Association that it had not been decided whether some employees would participate in delivering the boxes as they have in the past.
“Thank you all for your support over the years,” Hunter told the association.
“We won’t know until we get to heaven how many children, how many people, how many family members are saved because of Operation Christmas Child.”
The annual kickoff event, held locally at Life Care Centers of America’s offices in the past, will now be handled directly by Samaritan’s Purse.
Mid-South regional director Amy Johnson said the local kickoff will be held Oct. 11. at the Woodland Baptist Church (6735 Standifer Gap Road) in Chattanooga at 7 p.m.
Mid-South regional manager for OCC Kate Tanis will speak about her trip to Uganda delivering shoeboxes.
Johnson said OCC has many partnerships in the countries they serve.
She said the organization focuses on “ministry to ministry partnerships.” Strengthening ministry partnerships is one reason OCC has focused on church involvement.
Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse International Relief.
Each year OCC delivers millions of shoe boxes filled with toys, candy and school supplies to impoverished children around the world. OCC National Collection Week is Nov. 12–19.
How to pack a shoebox: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/Pack_A_Shoe_Box/