Christmas in July Exceeds Fundraising Goal

Volunteers packed 1,000 shoeboxes filled with gifts and the message of the Gospel for children around the world at the Christmas In July event on Friday evening.  Photo by Graham Gardner

In just over an hour, hundreds of people from Walnut Creek Church and the Des Moines community packed 1,000 shoeboxes with gifts for children in poverty. In addition, the fourth annual Christmas in July event at Walnut Creek Downtown raised more than $4,500 to pay for shipping the boxes overseas. When combined with the money raised prior to the event, a total of nearly $9,000 was raised – exceeding the fundraising goal by almost $2,000.

“It was incredible seeing the Lord come through and answer our prayers so specifically,” said event organizer Bo Laehn of Walnut Creek Downtown. “We were a little nervous about our ability to pack 1,000 boxes in two hours. But then God thought it would be funny if we could get it all done in one.”

Each year, Walnut Creek partners with Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, for the Christmas in July packing party. New this year, the shoeboxes are being sent to special-access countries, which are closed to the Gospel. The goal is for the boxes to make a way for the Gospel to get to children who would have little to no access to the truth otherwise.

“It’s a tremendous privilege to be the only church in Iowa throwing a special-access packing party this year,” Laehn said. “It’s an even greater honor to know 1,000 kids will experience Jesus’ love for them and have an opportunity to hear the Gospel because of the Lord’s work through Christmas in July.”

The event closed with a concert featuring Christian hip hop artists Beautiful Eulogy. Proceeds from the concert contributed to the $9,000 that was raised. “The concert was a great way to end the event and celebrate what was accomplished,” Laehn said. “It was also a great way to bring new people through the doors to learn about Operation Christmas Child.”

The event organizers would like to thank everyone who participated in and contributed to Christmas in July. They’d especially like to thank Operation Christmas Child volunteer Heather Rowley for her support and the Windsor Heights Dairy Queen for donating the Dilly Bars that were served with the meal.

By Tim Laehn 
Walnut Creek Downtown