Ep. 6: Processing Centers for Operation Christmas Child

In this Christmas cheer-filled episode, Kristy Graham takes you to one of the eight Operation Christmas Child processing centers across the U.S. Each year, Samaritan’s Purse collects millions of gift-filled shoeboxes—packed with school supplies, hygiene items, and fun toys— to give to children across the world. The processing center plays a crucial part in getting the shoebox from your home to the hands of a child in need.

As Kristy walked through the doors of the processing center in Boone, North Carolina, she heard music, laughter, and Christmas joy erupting through the room. After learning the process and guidelines in orientation, she worked as box inspector. This volunteer position ensures that every item packed inside is appropriate and safe to send around the world. She saw the thoughtful gifts packed inside and made sure each one was ready for shipment.

Kristy got the chance to talk to Lee Wilder, the manager of the Boone processing center. Listen as Lee sheds light on how gift-filled shoeboxes travel from those who pack them with blessings to the children who receive them. He explains the importance of this process, from beginning to end, and how it is a catalyst for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Volunteers come from across the country to process shoeboxes – dedicated to helping spread Jesus’ Name to children around the world. Witness Kristy’s conversation with Dick, a volunteer who has served with Operation Christmas Child for 17 years. He shared how donating his time has affected his heart for the Lord, which stirs him to come back year after year. He thinks of the numbers of children who are introduced to Christ through this ministry – including Alex Nsengimana, who received a shoebox in 1995.

During the Rwandan genocide of 1994, six-year-old Alex fought for his life as he was hunted down for being a part of the Tutsi tribe. He recounts his near-death experiences to Kristy, saying that at the end of the genocide, he was put in an orphanage. In 1995, Operation Christmas Child came to his orphanage, and he received a shoebox. This moment changed his life.

“Looking back, and realizing the many miracles that God had done to protect me through the war – realizing that he was with me. One of those miracles was that shoebox, that it came at a time when I lost hope.” – Alex Nsengimana, 1995 Rwanda shoebox recipient

Now, Alex works with Operation Christmas Child, sharing his testimony of how God restored his hope. This same hope and eternal impact is what keeps volunteers coming back each year. Kristy introduces you to some of the incredible volunteers who’ve served faithfully for years. Some traveling across the country to donate their time and resources. Hear their hearts for the ministry and how their efforts to help others has changed their own life.

Please continue to partner with us in prayer for the ministry of Operation Christmas Child. We pray that children’s lives continue to be transformed through the power of a simple gift.

An Inside Look

Would you like to help spread the Good News of Jesus Christ? Click here to learn how to pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child.

Are you looking to become a year-round volunteer or serve at a processing center? Find information here.

Listen to the link below to hear Kristy’s entire conversation with Alex Nsengimana, a Rwandan shoebox recipient from 1995 who is now giving back.

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