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Shown with the Operation Christmas Child sign and gift boxes are Kathy Hendrix, Dean Boone, Pam Partridge, Mary Lynn Raley, Matt Ward and Kathy Wells.

First Baptist Church of Thomson is once again a location where people can drop off a box of toys and other items for children in third-world countries.

The church opened its Operation Christmas Child relay center on Nov. 18 in the atrium. Operation Christmas Child, a program through Samaritan’s Purse, delivers Christmas gifts to children in more than 100 countries throughout the world, many of whom have never received a gift before. The boxes are filled with gifts and a message of hope in Jesus Christ.

Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization that provides spiritual and physical aid to people around the world. Since 1970, the organization has helped meet the needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ, according to the organization’s website.

“These shoeboxes go to children all over the world who do not know about Jesus or Christmas,” said Pam Partridge, FBC’s Operation Christmas Child spokesperson. “This is a good ministry and we do several million a year which go over to hundreds of different countries.”

First Baptist Church of Thomson has participated in Operation Christmas Child for 11 years. “It is a good mission and a way to pass the word of Jesus to everyone,” Partridge said. “It is a ministry to reach out to children all over the world who do not know anything about Jesus.”

In order to pack the shoebox, a person must find an average-sized shoebox, cardboard or plastic, and choose whether to pack the box for a boy or girl, ages two-four, five-nine or 10-14. After making the decision, pack the box with one “wow” toy such as a doll, soccer ball with pump, clothing outfit or stuffed animal and then fill the box with other toys, hygiene items and school supplies.

Samaritan’s Purse suggests that the person pray for the child who will receive the gift and, if the person wants, include a personal note and photo. The person then donates $9 using the Samaritan’s Purse website and receives a tracking label. The final step is to take the box to First Baptist Church.

For more information about Operation Christmas Child, contact FBC Thomson at 706-595-4252.

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