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RANGELY I Over the last six years, a group of churches in Rangely along with a few caring individuals have worked to provide needed hygiene and school supplies and a toy or two to children in impoverished nations around the world by participation in Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child.
Stephanie Hogan, coordinator for the program at Rangely Christian Church, believes in the importance of Operation Christmas Child.
“People, children especially, in poverty-stricken countries do without so much and seeing the videos of the joy on those children’s faces makes me realize I can do something even from my small town to show them the love of Jesus,” she said. “I’m all about planting seeds, especially in children because they are our future; you never know what an act of kindness will reap and I just trust God to do the rest.”
A few years into the program, Hogan realized that another local church, Grace Baptist, was also participating.
“I figured why not combine our efforts so only one person would need to deliver the boxes to the nearest drop-off site (Vernal or Grand Junction) and we have been collaborating ever since,” she said.
Participants can choose the age range and gender of the child that they’d like to prepare a box for and then bring the box to either Rangely Christian Church or Grace Baptist. The program has expanded to include those who want to help, but don’t necessarily have the time to put together a box.
“Several years ago I realized that some people don’t have the time or inclination to pack boxes but still want to help, so I offered that our youth group would do the shopping and packing with any donations people wanted to make, and that has been a huge success,” Hogan said.
The first year of the program, 20 boxes were produced for poverty stricken children.
However, this year’s totals evidence how much the program has grown with Rangely Christian Church putting together 51 boxes, Grace Baptist providing 44 and another dozen produced from other individuals for a total of 107 boxes.
For an additional $7 donation box makers can print off a shipping label from the Samaritan’s Purse website to track their box and learn what country it was delivered to.
Those who are interested in learning more about the program or contributing for next Christmas can contact either Rangely Christian Church or Grace Baptist.
Box collection occurs the third week of November each year.