Since 2003, we've taken the first months of fall each year to invite people to collect and donate age- and gender-appropriate gifts for children in developing nations through an outreach ministry called Operation Christmas Child (OCC). Donors and we as a church then pack the gifts into shoe box-sized boxes for delivery to children around the world through the auspices of Samaritan's Purse, which created the shoe box ministry.
In 2018, we took the next step in our OCC journey by serving for the first time as a drop-off location, meaning that we gathered into cartons the shoe boxes other churches, groups, and individuals dropped off, then transported those cartons to the Quad Cities' central processing location in Davenport.
Last year we bested by more than 50% the total number of boxes we packaged as a drop-location in 2018. This year - this pandemic-stained year - we expected a lower number of boxes than either of the previous two years, but to our surprise, this year we processed 1,237 boxes, including 134 from FCCEM - not as many as last year (1,598), but more than 2018 (1,059), AND far more than we expected in this COVID season. If you helped us create, process, and/or deliver boxes or cartons of boxes, THANK YOU!
This is a challenging year for nearly every ministry of every church in every nation of the globe. But for our OCC ministry this year, as in every year, God provided.
Below are some images from this year's drop-off location ministry at FCCEM: