Forsyth County

Shoeboxes filled with Christmas gifts headed to children in war-torn Ukraine

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — In the parking lot of First Redeemer Church in Forsyth County on Monday, an army of volunteers tackled some heavy lifting.

“It is such an encouraging thing to see how the community comes together to bless the hearts of children,” Senior Pastor Jeff Jackson said.

First Redeemer is a metro area drop-off center for what’s known as Operation Christmas Child.

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Each holiday season, the Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse, based in North Carolina, collects millions of shoeboxes full of Christmas gifts and hygiene essentials, which are then shipped to children all over the world — even to places where there’s a war.

This year, a planeload of cartons will go to Ukraine.

“They distribute the cartons and boxes to various churches across the country, and those churches will distribute them to children in that community,” Missions Pastor Larry Aultman said.


The congregation of First Redeemer filled 1,300 shoeboxes.

Other churches all over North Fulton and Forsyth counties combined to pack 18,000 shoeboxes.

They needed four semi-trailers to hold them all.

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“There are many children throughout this world who would not get a Christmas gift if it were not for Operation Christmas Child. In a world full of bad news, it’s nice to be able to share some good news,” Jackson said.

Since Operation Christmas Child began in 1993, Samaritan’s Purse has distributed shoeboxes to nearly 200 million children all over the globe.