Life Care Centers of America has been a national sponsor of Operation Christmas Child since 1995. Beecher Hunter, president of Life Care Centers of America, said that last year, the Cleveland community filled 38,150 shoe boxes with various items for children.
Hunter explained the purpose of Operation Christmas Child by reading the biblical account in Mark 10 where Jesus told the disciples not to send the children away from him.
“On behalf of Franklin Graham and Samaratin’s Purse and our team with Operation Christmas Child, I really am here to just bring my gratitude. ... This area has become a home for Operation Christmas Child,” Randy Riddle, director of Operations for Operation Christmas Child, said during the event.
Later, Lew and Wanda Winters of Ocoee River Transport, who have donated the use of their trucks for transporting the boxes to the processing centers, shared their experiences of going on trips with Operation Christmas Child to hand out boxes. Dana Williams and April Gregg of Life Care also shared their experience of distributing shoe boxes in Ecuador. Pastor Daniel Sylverston told about how he was first introduced to the program and collected more than 100 boxes in one week.
A video from Operation Christmas Child further explained the process and ministry of the organization. Each child receives a book about Jesus in their own language before receiving their shoe box. Children are told about Jesus’ love and given the opportunity to say a prayer of salvation.
However, the work of Operation Christmas Child does not end with a shoe box. Operation Christmas Child also offers a discipleship program which serves to help children know more about Jesus. Children who finish the program receive a certificate and New Testament during a graduation ceremony.
The video also explained the travels of a shoe box in the program, from being packed to processing to distribution.
Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse. Participants pack an empty shoe box with toys, schools supplies, hygiene items and candy then drop the box off at one of the collection points during National Collection Week. This year National Collection Week is Nov. 15-22 and Life Care Centers will be one of the drop-off locations. For more information visit www.samaritanspurse.com.