Athens Review, Athens, Texas

Breaking News

Local News

November 7, 2013

Operating with kids in mind

Many to gather in the Jackson home for Operation Christmas Child

Athens — Christmas is rapidly approaching, and several organizations are preparing to make life better for the less-fortunate.

Dozens of Athens area residents will gather Saturday at the Jackson family home to participate in Operation Christmas Child.

“My family began packing shoe boxes 17 years ago when I was only a year-old.  I do not remember a time without Operation Christmas Child,” Caryn Jackson said. “My parents have memories of me crawling around the living room floor among shoe-box items, as they and my older siblings packed shoe boxes for needy children around the world.  It has always been a part of my life.”

The event will also be a celebration of the estimated 9,500 gift-filled shoeboxes to be packed by East Central Texas residents this Christmas.

Through Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind, the Athens volunteers are helping make Christmas a little brighter for children living in poverty in more than 100 countries.

During National Collection Week, Nov. 18–25, shoebox gifts can be dropped off at one of 15 East Central Texas-area locations.

These collection centers are the first stop on a journey around the world for thousands of gifts packed by local residents. The boxes are then processed, prepared and delivered to hurting children overseas using whatever means necessary—boats, airplanes, trains and even elephants.

“Anyone, any age, can participate,” Jackson said. “Start with a standard size shoe box; fill it with school supplies, toiletries, small toys, and maybe even a letter to the child who will receive it; chose whether you want it to go to a boy or a girl and what age; rubber band it and drop it off at the nearest shoe box drop-off location.”

Jackson said an Athens drop-off location is located at 1700 S Palestine during the week of Nov. 18-24, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Operation Christmas Child, a project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse headed by Franklin Graham, has collected more than 100 million shoebox gifts since 1993. Through simple gifts and a message of hope, children learn they are loved and not forgotten. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect another 9.8 million gift-filled shoeboxes in 2013, with 9,500 coming from East Central Texas.

“Last year, I had the privilege to witness firsthand the desolation to which these boxes are sent. We distributed the gift-filled boxes to the poorest children in Ulan Bator, Mongolia,” Jackson said. “My team and I witnessed poverty in ways that are absolutely unknown to America. We saw families living in a garbage dump, children starving for love and affection. We saw hurt, brokenness and a hunger in their eyes that ran deeper than any kind of physical need.”

While the first glance of the country was tough, it was not long before they saw God at work.

“But we also saw God move and show up in most powerful ways in spite of it all. I learned most families in Ulan Bator go without food during the winter, because they have to spend their money on fuel for their heaters,” Jackson said. “I learned how orphan children who are living on the streets have to retreat to the underground sewer systems to keep warm, which makes them very susceptible to human trafficking. In this poverty stricken world, these gifts are hope to the children who receive them. Some cannot go to school because they cannot afford pencils, but when they receive school supplies in their box, they are given the opportunity to receive an education. This would not be possible without these simple items we take for granted every day.”

This Saturday, Jackson will gather with family and friends to fill 1,250 shoe boxes in the family backyard.

“We are excited we get to be a part of this amazing ministry helping to change the lives of children all over the world,” she said

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child or to find the nearest drop-off site, call 817-595-2230, or visit samaritanspurse.org.

National Collection Week for gift-filled shoeboxes is Nov. 18 through Nov. 25. However, shoebox gifts are collected all year at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • DSC_0018.JPG Volunteers now needed for Athens Soup Kitchen

    Athens resident Terry Mayhall walked through the doors of the Athens Soup Kitchen asking if he could just volunteer. Mayhall now spends his Thursdays cooking soup for people who are hungry.
    Athens Soup Kitchen, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The mission is to feed those who are hungry. The facility that feeds 30 to 63 people weekly, opened its door in March 2014.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-26 Mike chamber.png Coston named chamber president

    After a diligent search, the Athens Chamber of Commerce Board has named Mike Coston president. 
    “The chamber board selected a search committee, which consisted of Chamber members, community leaders and business owners,” Ashley Adams McKee, Chairman of the Athens Chamber of Commerce Board, said. “Our committee knew that we wanted to take our time to find the most qualified person to serve as our new president. We had more than 10 applicants and in our first round of interviews we were all equally impressed and excited about Mike's experience and passion for chamber business.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Update on restaurant projects given

    City of Athens officials gave an update on some ongoing projects and financial information at a meeting on Wednesday.
    Director of Planning and Development Gary Crecilius said progress on the Cotton Patch Cafe has slowed considerably with the discovery of a possible environmental hazard. The restaurant is being constructed east of the Walmart store on East Tyler Street.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • IMG_3092.JPG HCPAC announces ‘Mattress’ sales

    Why would HCPAC be selling mattresses? Actually, the “mattresses” are tickets to “Once Upon a Mattress,” which opens Thursday, Aug. 7.
    The 26th Annual Youth Summer Musical stars 24 very talented area students, ages 10 through college, and tells the “fractured fairy tale” version of the “Princess and the Pea.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-26 CCL Rotary Celebrity waiter.jpg Gearing up for Celebrity Waiter event

    The Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake is gearing up for its annual Celebrity Waiter event. The Celebrity Waiter committee met on Thursday to discuss last minute items. The event is scheduled for Saturday, August 9 at Athens Country Club. This will be the 18th year the CCL Rotary Club has hosted the fundraiser. For ticket information call Erin Osborn at 903-887-7486.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul harris.jpg Paul Harris recognition

    Rotary of Cedar Creek Lake President Erin Osborn presents Rotarian Bill Burnett with his second Paul Harris recognition. Rotarians are given a Paul Harris recognition when a Rotarian donates $1,000 or more to the fund outright. Benefactors receive a certificate and insignia to wear with a Rotary or Paul Harris Fellow pin.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-25 Sanders_Kendall.jpg Sanders suspended indefinitely

    Two University of Texas football players were arrested and charged Thursday with felony sexual assault after a female student said she was raped in a campus dorm room last month.
    Wide receivers Kendall Sanders, of Athens, and Montrel Meander were arrested and later released on personal recognizance bonds. According to an arrest affidavit, Sanders and Meander texted each other during earlier interviews with police to "get their story straight" and Sanders also faces a charge of improper photography tied to the alleged assault on June 21.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-25 tree down college st. 1.JPG Thunderstorms take their toll on counties

    A line of thunderstorms rolled through Henderson County on Wednesday, snapping tree branches and power lines along the way.
    The winds that accompanied the storm resulted in thousands of people in North Texas without electricity and roads broken by falling trees or debris.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Council considering Burton's severance package

    The Athens City Council, by a 3-to-2 vote, tabled a budget adjustment on Wednesday to fund a severance package for City Administrator Pam Burton who’s stepping down at the end of the year.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADR logo.tif Eustace ISD approves tax rates

    The Eustace Independent School District Board of Trustees held its regular monthly meeting Tuesday in the Eustace High School Library.
    Several reports and agenda items were considered by the board, and all were passed or approved. Board Secretary Ashley McKee was absent.
    The board was presented with the superintendent's reports on revenue, expenditures, payroll and taxes.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo