Sweet Water Baptist Church fills 700 shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child

A project through Samaritans Purse

8-year-old Collin Griffin helps pack shoe boxes for ‘Operation Christmas Child’. It’s something he’s done for as long as he can remember.

“It makes me feel good because I’m actually helping them, because they don’t have to buy stuff if we keep doing this.”

Operation Christmas Child is sponsored through an international relief organization, the Samaritans Purse, which sends gifts to children outside the US who are affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine and disease.

“To give a child a box with a toothbrush, a doll or a toy of some kind is really special to them it really lights up their life” said Project leader for Sweet Water Baptist Church, Rhonda Marion.

For the past ten years, Sweet Water Baptist church in Neosho has partnered with the group, growing from 50 boxes in its first year to 700.

“I look at it as a ministry, it’s the testimony of this church, we are witnessing for the lord, we may not go to Mongolia or some country in Africa, but we are reaching out, and we are witnessing through these shoe boxes” added Marion.

Members of the church like, Collin, help to fill all the shoe boxes with toys, clothing, school supplies, hygiene products and more.

“It’s new stuff every year so you just have to go exploring and see what stuff there is.”

The church buys items for the project all year round, and they hope to keep growing their contribution.

“I thought 50 was a lot but now that were doing 700 I look forward to doing 1000” said Marion.

Collin hopes the part he plays makes a difference for kids this Christmas.

“They can’t afford to buy stuff, so since they can’t afford to buy stuff I want to help them get toys and get the help they need.”

National collection week for the shoe boxes starts November 18th through the 24th.

If you would like to donate or help in any way, Sweet Water Baptist can be reached at (417) 638-5353 or


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