The public has been invited to an Operation Christmas Child Celebration meeting, Monday, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Bigelow Church, 415 Washington St. "We are excited about the 2007 Operation Christmas Child celebration meeting," said Virginia Cook, a local operation volunteer. "We have so much exciting information to share." Operation Christmas Child, sponsored by the national organization Samaritan's Purse - headed by Franklin Graham - is a program in which people fill shoe boxes with gifts to be sent to needy children around the world. In 15 years of operation, Operation Christmas Child has delivered more than 46 million shoe boxes filled with toys, personal hygiene items, booklets, school supplies and other items. "Since 1993, this ministry of hope has touched the lives of more than 61 million children in 130 countries around the world - children who are surviving in the most desperate of circumstances," Cook said. Cook said there is a definite purpose in having the celebration meeting. "We are going to celebrate and thank our Lord for his great blessings to the children served through OCC," she said. "More than 7.6 million shoe box gifts were sent in the name of Jesus to children who need to hear the gospel." The meeting will feature worship, spiritual impact stories, national initiatives and updates, international prayer initiatives and updates, southeast Ohio shoe box collection increases, OCC resources for churches and other organizations, introduction of new southeast Ohio team members and what Cook described as a 2008 "celebration media."
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.