Operation Christmas Child Gearing Up...Despite The Heat

It’s been hot, but around our area and across the country and beyond, good-hearted folks are gearing up for Christmas.

We’re not talking early lay-away. We’re talking serious laying-in of supplies to bring gifts to needy children around the world, and the promise of God’s love.

Carla Minnick Garrigan of the New Life Community Church is heading up this great project –Operation Christmas Child –here in Mountaintop.

She says that this uplifting program is an out-growth of Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse: an international Christian relief and evangelism organization. The organization explains that Operation Christmas Child “collects gift-filled shoe boxes and delivers them in the name of Jesus Christ to children living in desperate situations around the world.”

“My mom, Barbara Minnick and I have been ‘packing’ since 1994,” Carla says. As the owner of two businesses with her husband Michael, Carla is obviously an organized person, and her years of volunteering with Operation Christmas Child show her goal-setting skills as well.

“We would set a goal of, say, 60 boxes and we would each do 30.” She says, “Last year I felt the call to go bigger than ever before. The number that kept coming to my mind was 80 shoe boxes!” She met her goal with lots of help from her friends at the New Life Community Church.

Even while she was achieving that target, she was already thinking about 2013. Then it came to her, the story of Jesus feeding the multitudes with seven fish and seven loaves. So this year Carla is aiming for 4,000 shoe boxes!

This massive undertaking is already underway. Carla has a great facebook page devoted to this cause and accessible to everyone at: facebook.

com/occ. nepa. The site makes it clear

that there are many, many children in over 100 countries whose lives were enriched by this worthy program. If one picture tells a story, then check out Carla’s cover photo –it’s a group of children standing in the middle of a dusty track with Operation Christmas Child boxes and the biggest smiles you’ve ever seen.

Carla thoughtfully says that this outreach program means so much to her, she knows that spreading this kind of joy and the Good Word is a totally rewarding effort -one that she is extending an invitation for everyone to join. A list of wonderful suggestions for gift items is included on the facebook page. “I’m a thrifty shopper,” Carla says with a chuckle, so she packs the page with sale items gleaned from local shopping circulars. How can you beat $1 flip-flops?

Carla has arranged donation drop off points all over the region. In Mountaintop, the great folks at H & R Block, 134 N. Mountain Blvd. (Top of the Mountain Plaza) where Carla works in the winter, will accept