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Operation Christmas Child 2006

  ...Charity delivers gifts and Christ across the globe!

Published in Kitchens' Sink by Kevin L. Kitchens on December 05, 2006 09:18

This year I had the opportunity to assist the Operation Christmas Child effort in our city. Atlanta is one of 11 processing centers in the USA and my son volunteered (us) to help with the church youth group.

For those of you that don't know, OCC is an effort started by Franklin Graham (Billy and Ruth's son) about 10 years ago -- each year churches and groups prepare "shoebox" gifts for a boy or girl in three different age groups. These shoeboxes are then processed and shipped worldwide where they are given to children at Christmastime -- for some this will be the only gift they may ever receive in their lifetime.

The Atlanta center has been processing gifts that get shipped to India for the past several years -- this year is no different. Here's a few shots showing the process...

A wide shot showing the processing facility. There are about 8 "lines" working the boxes -- all staffed by volunteers. Each "line" is grouped by age category.

Shoebox gifts in the presort location -- Thousands of them must be inspected before delivery.

Volunteers inspect the shoeboxes for propriety. Certain items are taboo in the destination country. For example OCC does not want to send even "fun" things with a military theme -- a lot of these kids see violence every day and this should be free of that.

After the inspection, the boxes are placed on an overhead track and rolled do the sorting station. Boxes for girls (shown here) to the left, boys to the right.

Here my son works at "cartonizing" the shoeboxes. For maximum efficiency, they try to get 14 shoeboxes per carton. Believe me, this is NOT a simple task. However, you learn quickly what combinations yield the best results. I managed to get 16 in a couple of cartons. My son hit 21!!! twice and 20 once, plus many 16s.

Finally the cartons of completed and ready shoebox gifts sit on pallets awaiting final delivery to the destination country (India). There are thousands of these cartons stacked around the warehouse.

Hope you enjoyed this guided tour. I was worn out and was not looking forward to doing this four hour shift -- but afterwards, I was pumped -- albeit sore. But this is an annual event whereby Christians can take a little time and money to share Christ's love with those very far away.

Last Updated by: on December 03, 2008 16:59
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