Christmas is a busy time of year for Amy Ashberry.
But the Mathews County native has a lot more people on her shopping list than most. The young, exuberant kindergarten teacher at Mathews Elementary collects gifts all year long as a Community Relations Coordinator for Operation Christmas Child, providing gifts for millions of children across the globe.
Operation Christmas Child, established in 1993, is one ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, a nonprofit organization founded by the Rev. Franklin Graham. In 28 years, OCC has grown into a worldwide effort to help others in need. Through OCC simple shoeboxes are filled with small goodies for needy children and sent to 170 different countries.
In 2020, over 10 million boxes were collected—the most ever. Children who receive these gifts go through a 12-week discipleship program titled “The Greatest Journey” as they learn about Jesus. Most people associate the shoebox ministry with Christmas, but they are delivered throughout the year.
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