Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child packing nearly 3 million boxes for children at Charlotte facility
Volunteers processed nearly 60,000 boxes before 6pm on Thursday
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Santa’s elves aren’t the only ones working hard this holiday season.
More than 40,000 volunteers with Samaritan’s Purse are packing gift boxes for Operation Christmas Child at the Charlotte facility.
Charlotte is the largest processing center out of the eight centers in the United States.
“Today we just passed the one million box mark so that’s exciting. We believe with 43,000 volunteers, two and a half million boxes will be processed total here,” said Samaritan’s Purse CEO and President Franklin Graham.
One of those 43,000 volunteers is Yuri Lopez, Lopez received her first Operation Christmas Child box when she was in an orphanage in Honduras.
“At the age of six years old that’s when I experienced hope for the very first time, when I received and an Operation Christmas Child show box gift,” Lopez said.
From the time she was born to sixteen, Lopez lived in more than a dozen orphanages, after being separated from her family.
“One it was my first Christmas present but two for the first time I had something I could say is my own and I don’t have to share with anybody else. Normally in my orphanage, if there was a pair of shoes the first one to come in line would be the one that we received,” Lopez said.
From the time she was born until she was 16 years old, Lopez lived in more than a dozen orphanages, after being separated from her family.
Her first box didn’t just come with toys but her own toothbrush and a ten pack of pencils for school.
Lopez said her orphanage typically only gave the children one pencil and one notebook to last the entire year; she even had to share her toothbrush with other children.
Years later she still has the note from her first box, which says “Jesus loves you and I love you too.” It’s the same love she felt then, she’s passing on with each box she sends off.
“I’m grateful to just experience it firsthand,” Lopez said.
Matt Reed is the Charlotte processing center manager, he says donors have been extremely generous and are not letting supply chain issues stop Samaritan’s Purse from reaching its goals.
“We anticipate processing between 2.5 and 2.6 million show boxes this year of the more than 9 million that will be received from all over the U.S.,” Reed said.
Each box is carefully packaged with school supplies, stuffed animals, toy cars, and hygiene products - which may seem like regular items but mean the world to children who aren’t as fortunate.
“The body of Christ is coming together and impacting so many kids in a third world country like somebody did in my life when I was only six years old,” Lopez.
Volunteers will continue packing boxes until December 18.
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