Clearfield and Jefferson Counties, PA – Although the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes won’t be filled for several more months, Samaritan’s Purse is looking for year-round volunteers from our area.

God has uniquely gifted His people to further His kingdom, and various volunteer roles are available with Samaritan’s Purse through Operation Christmas Child in the West Central Pennsylvania region.

By serving year-round with Samaritan’s Purse through Operation Christmas Child, you will be a part of proclaiming the Gospel in more than 100 countries around the world. Each shoebox gift can bring “Good News and Great Joy” to a child in need and their family.

Currently, the West Central PA Area is actively seeking volunteers who are interested in serving on its church relations and prayer teams in Clearfield, Jefferson and Indiana counties.

Church relations volunteers build and cultivate relationships with local Christian churches, work to mobilize and equip them to share the hope of Jesus Christ and help fulfill the Great Commission through Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child.

“… I strive to contact our local churches about how they can have an active part in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ,” shares Karen Addleman, church relations volunteer.

“Packing a shoebox filled with treasures not only puts a smile on a child’s face, but also shows them love from complete strangers because of their love for Jesus Christ.

“These children also receive ‘The Greatest Journey’ booklet, which tells the story of Jesus. Through this simple message, many accept Jesus as their savior. It doesn’t stop there though as entire families have come to know Him through this small gift.”

“I’ve been blessed in so many ways through this ministry,” Addleman continues, “and my prayer is that more people will become involved in our local area.”

Prayer is critical in all aspects of the work of Samaritan’s Purse, and Operation Christmas Child prayer team members spend time interceding for the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through shoebox gifts.

“I feel very blessed that the Lord would call me to come aside Him in this ministry,” shares Denise Anderson, West Central PA prayer team coordinator.

“The privilege I have to lift up this team in prayer and to watch how the Lord uses a shoebox of gifts to bring salvation to not only one child, but also a family, a neighborhood, the community.

“It is a wonderful feeling to be part of this team. The Lord takes the little we offer and feeds the souls of Nations … Psalms 115:1 says: ‘not to us, O’ Lord not to us, but to Your name goes all the glory for Your unfailing love and faithfulness.’”

Interested individuals must complete and submit an online application, which includes questions about their personal testimony, gifts and abilities and previous volunteer experience.

Individuals should be prepared to provide contact information for one pastoral/spiritual reference and two personal references. Prior to selection, volunteers will be expected to agree to and sign the ministry’s statement of faith and volunteer waiver.

After the completion of the online volunteer application process, individuals will be contacted by West Central PA Area Coordinator Karla Sunderlin to schedule an in-person interview.

Nearly 575,000 volunteers worldwide—with more than 270,000 of those in the United States —are involved in collecting, shipping and distributing shoebox gifts.

For more information or to apply for volunteer opportunities through Operation Christmas Child, please visit: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/volunteer-year-round/.

For more information or questions about the local volunteer opportunities, individuals may also contact Sunderlin via e-mail at [email protected] or phone at 814-496-4456.

Denise Anderson West Central PA prayer team coordinator

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About Operation Christmas Child

In 2020, some 7,809,410 million gifts were packed nation-wide for the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child, with 415,403 built online.

It was a record year for Build a Shoebox Online. Because of partnership in communities across the United States, more people than ever chose to participate in this way.

Combined with those collected from partnering countries in 2020, the ministry is now sending more than 9,113,853 million shoebox gifts to children around the world.

Locally, the West Central PA Area collected 13,835 shoebox gifts. The area encompasses the communities of Clearfield, Jefferson and Indiana counties.

Each gift-filled shoebox—packed with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items—is a tangible expression of God’s love, and it is often the first gift these children have ever received.

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 186 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

Many children who receive shoebox gifts will also enroll in Operation Christmas Child’s 12-lesson discipleship program, The Greatest Journey.

This program teaches children about God’s amazing love and guides them through what it means to faithfully follow Jesus Christ.

Since 2009, more than 23 million children have participated in the program. Every child who graduates is given a New Testament in their own language.