The numbers are in – and Escalon area residents contributed 600 shoeboxes to Operation Christmas Child over the past week, with the Escalon Covenant Church serving as the collection site.
Coordinator of the local operation to benefit the Samaritan’s Purse program is Pam Elsholz, who said the effort wrapped up with the donation of boxes from the Escalon Covenant Church family on Sunday. Then, all the boxes were counted and sent off on Monday, first heading to Southern California where they will be prepared for the rest of their journey – across the country or around the world.
The idea behind the Operation Christmas Child program is simple, select a boy or girl and an age and pack as many age appropriate items as you can into a small shoebox, providing the recipient with a little box of joy for the holidays. Toiletries, small treats, toys and clothing can all be packed in.
Elsholz said there were 424 shoeboxes donated by residents in the greater Escalon area and another 176 through the Escalon Covenant Church, totaling 600 shoeboxes altogether.
Among the volunteers on hand this weekend as they got most of the boxes organized and ready to go was 10-year-old Carlos Flores of Livingston, the grandson of Elsholz.
He helped fill a shoebox for a boy, between the ages of 10 and 14.
“My grandma did some of the stuff and then I picked out the rest,” Flores explained. “I picked out a yo-yo, two slinkys, a flashlight.”
This was the sixth year that Escalon Covenant Church has participated in the Operation Christmas Child effort, said Elsholz.
“We had 76 boxes donated from the Awanas kids; that’s a Wednesday night group here at the church,” Elsholz added. “The kids all brought items in.”
The collection was for boys and girl, ages 2 to 14, and the local boxes will join thousands of others from the state that will be shipped out to help spread some holiday cheer and a message of God’s love around the world.