Hickman Presbyterian Church gives back through ‘Operation Christmas Child’
By Chloe Wegner, The Voice News - December 7, 2017
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The Hickman Presbyterian Church has carried on its tradition of supplying ‘Operation Christmas Child’ boxes filled with needed and fun items to children in need around the world. This year, church members helped put together more than 100 boxes for the organization.
HICKMAN – The Hickman Presbyterian Church recently packed 121 Christmas boxes to send to children in over a 100 needy countries. Through the organization Operation Christmas Child, hundreds of churches, groups and people across the United States pack and send thousands of boxes every year.
The Hickman Presbyterian Church has been participating for several years.
“This was our 7th year. We started in 2010. The first year we did 24 boxes. This year we packed 121 boxes. I believe our congregation has really gotten behind this outreach and therefore we are able to continue to do this program,” Lynn Jacobs, the Church’s OCC spokesperson said.
All of the items inside the boxes are donated by congregation members. Boxes are filled with various hygiene products, school supplies, clothing and many toys, which are tailored to genders and age groups.
For Hickman Presbyterian Church this outreach is not just a Christmas event. They work all year in preparation.
“It is a year-round project. We have certain items that we request each month to be donated by our members,” Jacobs shared. “Usually in September/October, we tally the items we have and then put together a final request for items we still need to fill the number of boxes we are planning on packing.”
Then, during national collection week for the boxes in November, Hickman Presbyterian Church hosts a packing party to assemble the supplies they have collected throughout the year.
“We had about 35 people attend our packing party this year, aged 4–80. It is always a wonderful time ... We start by serving pizza and then start packing after eating. We also take some time to write a letter to the child who is receiving the box,” Jacobs said.
Once each box is filled with various toys and supplies and a personal letter has been added, they are stacked in the sanctuary for one more thing to be added.
“On Sunday morning, during church, we pray for all of the boxes and the children who will receive them,” Jacobs explained.
After this final step, the boxes are loaded up and taken to a drop off location in Lincoln to be shipped.
“Our church’s mission statement is ‘Serving God, each other and the community.’ Operation Christmas Child is an extension of that. We are able to get our church family and the community involved in service to children in need. What a great way to help a child find Jesus and let them know that someone they have never met loves them. It’s just heartwarming to see all the love packed into these boxes,” Jacobs said.
The Hickman Presbyterian Church plans to continue this project for many years to come and wants to extend an invitation to the community to join.
Jacobs offered, “We would welcome anyone to get involved and attend our packing party next year.”
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