Locals Participate in Operation Christmas Child 2017 – Part 1


Since 1993, The Samaritan’s Purse project, Operation Christmas Child, has collected shoeboxes filled with gifts and delivered them to children in need around the world.  Several churches participate locally, as well as individuals, including Cappie Hull in Highland County, who is hosting a packing party at the old H&H Cash Store in Monterey on Thursday, November 2nd at 2:00 p.m.  She says, “Folks are invited to stop in with items to put in their shoebox to send abroad.  Such items could include school supplies, hygiene things, and then every shoebox, it’s fun to have like a ‘wow’ item, something for a little boy or a little girl that would be especially fun for them.”

Boxes are fixed according to a boy or girl depending on different age categories.  A 12-lesson discipleship program called The Greatest Journey is also offered to many of the children who receive the shoebox gifts.  A $9 donation per box is also suggested to help cover the expenses of sending abroad.  For a full list of acceptable and prohibited items, folks can visit https://www.samaritanspurse.org/occ .

Ms. Hull continues by explaining why the program is important:   “I think this program is a really worthwhile type of program, because so often, we want to do for others in foreign lands, and we’re not able to, and at Christmas time, especially, it’s a great opportunity to spread the love of Christ throughout the world, and this allows us the chance to do something for someone we don’t know, knowing that when they receive this gift, they will know that they are loved, they are special, and that others in the world care about them, and that folks reach out to each other to spread God’s love.  And I know folks who are very actively involved in this project, and they actually see and hear the stories of the children being the recipients of these gifts, and they are just blown away by the spirit of God’s love at Christmas and how these children often alter their lives knowing that others truly care about them.”

Cappie Hull can reached at 540-468-2408 to learn more.  In Part Two of this story, she explains how local children were already involved in Operation Christmas Child back in the summer.

Folks in AMR’s tri-county listening area also have other options inside and outside of Highland County to participate.

For example, Sarah Burns is a year-round volunteer in Bath County.  Speaking with AMR, she invites the public to fill shoeboxes at another packing party at the Life Line Ministries Church gym in Hot Springs on Sunday, November 5th at 4:00 p.m.  Teaming with local churches, the goal is to fill and send 500 boxes.  There will also be a carry-in dinner at the event.  Those interested in learning more or becoming a year-round volunteer can contact Sarah and Roy Burns at 540-839-2611 or Burns Auto Repair during the day at 540-839-5807.

In Pocahontas County, Patricia Juergens is helping coordinate the efforts there.  She also spoke with AMR, inviting folks to drop off shoeboxes at the Marlinton Presbyterian Church during the National Collection Week of November 13th through the 20th.  Overall, she stresses the importance of praying over the shoeboxes before they are sent off.  To learn more about the process in Pocahontas County, Ms. Juergens can be reached at 304-497-3131.


Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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