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Operation Christmas Child boxes collected in the Wiregrass heading to the next stop

Almost 26,000 shoe boxes filled with gifts were collected, just short of the 30,000 goal.
Published: Nov. 23, 2020 at 5:22 PM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - National collection week for Operation Christmas Child has ended. 13 collection locations around the Wiregrass dropped off their collected shoe boxes at Heritage Baptist Church on Monday, Nov. 23.

“We had people bring one box and we had people bring hundreds of boxes, I’m thankful for the one, I’m thankful for everything in between,” Shannon McGonegal, site coordinator, said.

Multiple trailers packed with gifts made their way to the church, on a journey to make a difference in the life of a child.

“When you start volunteering and working with it, you come to understand more about what its about and when you see and hear the stories of the children that are around the world that are affected by it, it’s just wonderful,” Timothy Harris, volunteer said. “It makes all the difficulties you may have volunteering, worthwhile.”

These boxes were collected in the Wiregrass, on their way to Atlanta for separation, then delivered to over 150 countries to children in need, for Christmas.

“Every year I have to focus on it’s not numbers, it’s children and so it’s just how many we get it’s that many children that get help,” McGonegal said.

Boxes are separated between genders and age groups.

“It’s very rewarding, its tiring, it’s exhausting,” Harris said. “Especially like when you go to Atlanta and work in the processing center, but it’s very fulfilling.”

In January, a goal of reaching 30,000 shoe boxes was set, but due to COVID-19, it was not reached.

“It just kept a lot of people from going out and shopping,” McGonegal said. “A lot of people have lost their jobs and are not working as much as they were so I think they’re finances are affected and just the fact of not wanting to go out because they are concerned about getting contaminated.”

However, success is still celebrated as 25 to 26-thousand shoe boxes were collected.

“No matter what we set out goal for, ultimately it’s God’s goal,” McGonegal said. “He knows what’s coming and so He’ll use every box that comes.”

A difficult year for everyone, but the Wiregrass is still giving back.

“I’m just very grateful because I know it’s been a hard year,” McGonegal said. “A lot of people have been affected and I’m very thankful they still took time and resources, their own resources to pack a shoe box.”

There is still time to build a shoebox online, click here for more information.

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