Walnut Creek Church members Erin Youngblood & Kelly Crane were recently interviewed by Des Moines' local NBC affiliate regarding their annual Christmas Card Outreach efforts.
Gift cards to local restaurants are included in Christmas cards and distributed to people in need. Each recipient receives a handwritten card, a warm meal, and a Gospel tract explaining God's incredible gift to them.
|Volunteers from Walnut Creek Church load gift-filled shoeboxes to deliver them to the Des Moines area collection Center.|
This year, the members of Walnut Creek Church packed 687 Operation Christmas Child (OCC) shoeboxes. A total of 24,128 gift-filled shoeboxes, including the ones from Walnut Creek, were recently loaded onto trucks and taken to the Midwest distribution center in Minneapolis.
OCC, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, works with local churches and ministry partners to deliver the gifts and share the life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ with children in impoverished and war-torn countries. Since 1993, more than 100 million boys and girls in more than 130 countries have experienced God’s love through the power of simple shoebox gifts.
“It’s so much more than a shoebox,” said Kelly Hill, who helped coordinate OCC efforts at Walnut Creek and also volunteers on the Des Moines area OCC team. “It’s a great way to get the gospel of Christ out. There are so many kids who need Christ, and a lot of them have never even heard of God. This is a way to introduce them to gospel and serve them at the same time.”
The 687 boxes were packed with the help of many volunteers and events. Starting back in July, the annual “Christmas in July” packing party at the Downtown congregation brought in more than 300 boxes. An annual vendor fair fundraiser at Walnut Creek coordinated by Kelly Hill and Emmie Hawk brought in another 70 boxes and more than $1,500 in funds. The rest of the boxes were packed by individuals from all of Walnut Creek’s congregations.
To learn more about OCC, go to www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/.