Riverside Baptist Church in Clarksdale has participated in “Operation Christmas Child” for close to 15 years by sending boxes to children in need throughout the world.
“It is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse,” said Laura Fraize, Riverside Baptist Church logistics coordinator and community and church relations coordinator for Coahoma County. “Samaritan’s Purse is an interdenominational organization and they send boxes to children. The purpose of these boxes is to tell them about Jesus.”
Franklin Graham is the president of Samaritan’s Purse. The boxes include fun toys, hygiene items, toothbrush, washrags and soap and school supplies and were sent just prior to Thanksgiving.
“If these children do not have school supplies, they cannot go to school,” Fraize said.
Children in 100 countries receive the boxes. Churches in the United States, Australia, Finland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Spain and United Kingdom donate. Riverside Baptist Church sent 1,219 boxes and churches, schools, organizations and individuals donated the items. The boxes are divided up so some are for ages 2 to 4, 5 to 9 and 10 to 14, while some are for boys and others are for girls.
“These children have probably never had a present in their life, so these gifts open up the avenue to tell them about Jesus Christ, who is the greatest gift,” Fraize said.
There is a booklet in every box called The Greatest Gift tells that tells children about Jesus. When children receive the boxes, they also learn about a 12-lesson discipleship course called The Greatest Journey that ends with a graduation ceremony at the end. The course teaches about creation, salvation, sin and how to go out and tell others about Jesus.