A record 1,253 "shoe boxes" were collected at New Covenant Fellowship this year, which for the third year has served as a drop-off point for Operation Christmas Child.
Often referred to as simply the "shoe box ministry" around the church, New Covenant has participated in Operation Christmas Child for many years. Samaritan's Purse, a Christian-based organization founded by Franklin Graham- son of retired Evangelist Billy Graham- coordinates Operation Christmas Child.
Shoe boxes are collected nationwide, filled with such as items as small toys, school supplies, clothing items, hygiene products and other items for daily living, separated by age groups and gender. Yes, even footwear goes into some of the shoe boxes. The boxes also are supplied with material concerning the Christian faith such as small Bibles. The boxes are distributed around the world both at Christmas and at other times.
With enthusiasm, Marianne Korman, coordinator of the shoe box ministry at New Covenant, rallies support months in advance. While individuals may shop and pack their own boxes, Korman and her helpers arrange for donations of items from businesses or from the community. These items are then packed in assembly-line fashion at a "packing party," which was held Nov. 14. Numerous people pitched in to fill the boxes.
In the week that followed, volunteers were at the church at announced hours to receive boxes brought in from other churches, organizations and individuals. Janet Becker and Kathy Harrison assisted Korman throughout the process.
Children at the church were writing letters and including them in shoe boxes, with the hope that some of the recipients may be able to write back.
She set a goal this year for her won church, New Covenant Fellowship, to break its own record. The goal, 500 boxes, was surpassed with 718 collected from their own church members.
Making up the total of 1,253, other groups that participated included Hamlin Assembly of God, Blooming Grove Baptist, Faith Christian Outreach Center, FM (Free Methodist) Community Church in White Mills, St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hawley, Wallenpaupack Free Methodist, the Church at Hemlock Farms, Bethel Lutheran Church of Rowlands, Grace Bible Church in Waymart, Equinunk United Methodist, Central United Methodist in Honesdale, 1st Assembly of God in Greentown and Cole Memorial Baptist in Hawley.
Eugene Castimore of Blooming Grove assists each year with delivering the cartons to a centralized location in Pittston, where they are shipped from there by tractor trailer. Doug Yost, Vince Brown and Peter Becker assisted with the cartons when they were trucked from the Hawley church. There were 68 cartons in all, packed with the shoe boxes.
Korman expressed gratitude for the many hands that pitched in, and for all the donations going to make a difference in the lives of the children.