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We are excited to have finished out 2023 Operation Christmas Child with 5,753 shoeboxes packed by Petersburg UMC and friends and another 153 shoeboxes dropped off from the area during National Collection Week!  Wow! So thankful for the outpouring of love! These 5,753

gift-filled shoeboxes and others will be given to hurting children along with the Good News of Jesus Christ in the child’s own language. Samaritan’s Purse hopes to be able to distribute 9.7 million shoeboxes this year to over 100 different countries.


2023 was our church’s 27th year of participating in Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, which facilitates getting shoebox gifts, given along with the Gospel message, to children in hurting situations around the world.  Since 1993, Samaritan’s Purse has delivered gift filled shoeboxes to children in over 150 different countries, going to approximately 100 countries each year.  These children living in war torn areas, in poverty, surviving natural disasters, etc. often are receiving a gift for the first time in their lives.  Through the gifts, prayers, service and support of all involved with Operation Christmas Child, these young lives and those around them are being transformed by the Good News of Jesus Christ.

  • Pray. Prayer cards are available at church for specific ideas.

  • Pack one or more shoeboxes at home.  This is a great thing to do as a family with your children or grandchildren.

  • Join us in our OCC Headquarters (Upper Level, NW Room) for scheduled Work Nights to help plan, collect items, wrap boxes, craft items, pack boxes, and more.

  • Sponsor the shipping of shoeboxes ($9 each) and also The Greatest Journey ($6 each), which is a follow-up discipleship program offered to the children.

  • Pick up OCC brochures and other information at church to explore available resources and other opportunities to help with Operation Christmas Child.

  • Share brochures and information with your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and community groups.

Further tools and information for Operation Christmas Child are available online at

Locally you may call or text Helene Atkinson at 217.899.5210 or at with questions, ideas, or for further information.

  1. Shoebox: Get a shoebox for a boy or girl (affix boy/girl label). Use an empty cardboard or plastic shoebox (average size).  If you wish to wrap the box, the box and lid should be wrapped separately.  Preprinted shoeboxes are available at church.

  2. Include a “Wow” Toy: Select a quality “wow” toy such as a doll, soccer ball with pump, or stuffed animal.

  3. Fill with Gifts: Add other fun toys, hygiene items, and school supplies.

  4. Pray: Most importantly, pray for the child who will receive your gift.

  5. Include $9 Donation: A donation of $9 per box is needed to transport your gift and deliver it into the hands of a child in need.  Enclose your check or cash inside the lid of your box or give online at to Follow Your Box and you will receive information about the destination of your shoebox.

  6. Bring to Petersburg United Methodist Church by November 19, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.


Start with a special toy that a child will cherish, like a doll, a deflated soccer ball with a pump, or a plush stuffed animal.  Then fill the box completely, adding items like cars, musical instruments, puzzles, jump ropes, balls, etc.

School Supplies: pencils, pens, crayons, notebooks, coloring books, etc.

Non-Liquid Hygiene Items: toothbrushes, bar soap, washcloths, combs, other hair items, etc.

Personal Note and photo of you and your family/group.  If you include your name and address, the child may be able to write to you.

DO NOT INCLUDE used or damaged items, war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures, seeds, chocolate or food, liquids or lotions, medications, or vitamins, breakable items such as snowglobes or glass containers, aerosol cans, etc.

Our church serves as a site for individuals and other churches and organizations to drop off their shoeboxes during these hours.  Please share this information along with a brochure with others so they can join in with this project


Filled and Empty (for group packing) shoeboxes are being collected, as well as toys, stuffed animals, toothbrushes, soap and washcloths, and any other appropriate shoebox gifts.

Used t-shirts, discs (cd’s & dvd’s), crayons, plastic Easter eggs, plastic spoons, beads, crayons, empty pill bottles, fishing and sewing supplies (including fabric) are collected year round to upcycle into fun usable gifts.

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