How shoe boxes became a passion at fccem

Years and years and years ago, we learned about a ministry of the international relief agency Samaritan's Purse called "Operation Christmas Child." (OCC) Its premise was simple: Donors pack age- and gender-appropriate toys, gifts, and other items into shoe boxes that are then shipped and delivered to children in developing nations around the world. We opted into the ministry, and for years found great satisfaction in knowing that the simple items we packaged in the boxes brought joy and a word about the Gospel to children we'd never meet, but would know we'd blessed. 

In 2018, FCCEM morphed from a congregation of shoe box donors to a congregation of donors AND recipients! For the first time we served as an official OCC drop-off center for the Quad Cities, which meant that we welcomed, noted, and packaged in large cartons the boxes other persons, groups, and churches brought as their OCC gifts. By the end of the eight day national collection week, we received more than 1,000 shoe boxes. Praise God!

In 2019, our second year as a drop-off center produced nearly 1,600 boxes at our location, smashing our first year's success.

In 2020, the COVID pandemic limited our results, but didn't reduce our praise to God for the more than 1,200 boxes we processed at the FCCEM drop-off location.

We will serve as a drop-off center again in 2021, and we're looking forward to more great experiences. 

For now, here are some images of our OCC ministry in action:

Here's how you can help in 2021!


Again this year we're serving as one of the Quad Cities' shoe box drop-off locations. That means you can bring your completed box(es) to our church during our hours of operation at any of the eight days of the national collection week (November 15-22). Here's what you need to know:

When is the shoe box collection week?

Monday, November 15 - Monday, November 22

When will the FCCEM drop-off location be open? [the following times are tentative]

  • Monday, November 15 - Friday, November 19: 10:00-Noon / 6:00-8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, November 20: 9:00-11:00 a.m. / 6:00-8:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 21: 2:00-4:00 p.m. / 6:00-8:00 p.m.
  • Monday, November 22: 10:00-Noon

What should I pack in my shoe box(es)?

Age- and gender appropriate items for children of various age ranges. Learn more about the OCC ministry and get suggestions for items to pack in your box(es) by clicking the brown banner at the top of this section (just remember to bring your box to FCCEM once it's packed!)

Drop-off location AND FCCEM set shoe box records!

We praise God that in the 2019 version of Operation Christmas Child's national shoe box collection week, we welcomed 1,598 boxes to our drop-off location, besting last year's inaugural result (1,059) by 51%! While our own church's donation of boxes produced a record 140 boxes, beating by 25% last year's record-setting result of 105 boxes.

  • If you donated items, thank you!
  • If you served on our drop-off location team, thank you!
  • If you visited our drop-off location to deliver your own boxes or those of your group, business, or church, thank you!

We have every intention of continuing our service as an OCC drop-off location next year. See you then!

a magnificent operation christmas child week 2019 culminates with our own packing party

The number of shoe boxes we've received over the first four days of our second year as an OCC drop-off location (1,100) is already greater than the number we received ALL of last year (1,059) We can't wait to see what God has in store for the remaining four days of collection week 2019. One thing we know God has in store is our own box packing party tomorrow night (November 23) As the gallery of images below shows, we have hundreds and hundreds of items to include in the boxes we'll create. 

The night will begin with a casual potluck at 5:00 p.m. A casual potluck means don't work too hard to come up with the food you bring: buy a pizza or some packaged snacks, for example. After we eat, we'll create boxes from the items God has provided to us through surprising sources.  The more who help us, the fast we'll create. Join us!

WHAT: The FCCEM OCC packing party

WHEN: Saturday, November 23, 5:00 p.m.

WHY: To create the shoe boxes we'll donate to the 2019 version of Operation Christmas Child

HOW: Casual potluck (5:00 p.m.) followed by box packing

Here are some pics of what awaits our box packers: