Calvary Baptist opens Christmas Child center

Published 8:16 pm Monday, November 18, 2019

On hand for the ribbon cutting at Calvary Baptist Church this week were Patricia Benson, Peggy Willwhite, Nina Bolden, Linda Cole, Linda Pitcock, Tommy Ramage, Amy Cook, Fred Cook, church pastor Dr. Paul Middleton, Shawn Waldo, Cassandra Ramage, Iris Holloway, and other volunteers.


Batesville’s Cub Scout Pack 78 packed Operation Christmas Child last week at Batesville Presbyterian Church. The Scouts were later visited by Santa, who brought derby cars to the boys.

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The team that will be leading volunteers for the 2019 Operation Christmas Child project locally held a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday officially kickoff the efforts of the newly-formed Hills-Delta team for the annual ministry started by Samaritan’s Purse in 1993.

The Hills Delta team is made up of five counties – Coahoma, Panola, Tallahatchie, Quitman, and Yalobusha – and Calvary Baptist Church in Batesville will be the central location for drop offs of completed shoeboxes of gifts prepared for children all over the world.

Team members are Linda Cole, Patricia Benson, Linda Pitcock, Gail Caldwell, Margo Bailey, Vivian Gilley, Rick Ashby, and Lydia Dunavent. Five are Panolians.

The goal for collection is 9,400 boxes. Last year in Panola County alone, some 5,023 boxes were packed at several churches in Pope and Batesville. Since Calvary Baptist members began participating four years ago, the cumulative total of boxes collected is 14,993.

Churches and other organizations will use volunteers to carefully pack each shoebox that will be placed in the hands of a child on a mission field, along with a clear presentation of the Gospel message by another group of volunteers.

Operation Christmas Child is a global program facilitated through hundreds of thousands of trained volunteers. Local believers in more than 100 countries deliver Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts, present the Gospel, and facilitate a follow-up discipleship program, The Greatest Journey.

Since 1993, the Samaritan’s Purse project, Operation Christmas Child, has collected and delivered more than 150 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 150 countries and territories.

Shoebox gifts are collected in the U.S., Australia, Finland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Spain, and the U.K.

More than 500,000 volunteers worldwide, with more than 150,000 of those in the United States, are involved in collecting, shipping, and distributing shoebox gifts.

National Collection Week is Nov. 18-25 throughout the United States. At nearly 5,000 locations volunteers will fill cartons and load trucks with the millions of shoeboxes that will be taken to central location centers like Calvary Baptist Church in Batesville.

Across the nation, an expected 80,000 people are expected to take part in Operation Christmas Child, according to Samaritan’s Purse.