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Operation Christmas Child countdown event to be held in Kingsport this weekend

Staff Report • Aug 23, 2018 at 3:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Over the years, many Kingsport residents have participated in Operation Christmas Child, a global project that shares the joy and meaning of Christmas with millions of boys and girls.

To kick off this year’s collection season, a countdown event will be held at Grace Fellowship Church of Kingsport this weekend. During the event, the community will hear from Hermann Finch, a Tri-Cities resident who received a shoebox when he was a child living in Zimbabwe.

Event details

The countdown event will be held Saturday, Aug. 25, from 10-11:30 a.m. at Grace Fellowship Church, located at 1 Fellowship Pointe in Kingsport.

Volunteers from throughout the Tri-Cities will gear up for this year’s collection season, during which they hope to fill 40,650 shoeboxes for children in need.

These shoeboxes, filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene items, will “contribute to the project’s goal of reaching more than 11 million children in Jesus’ name,” according to a press release.

Finch’s story

Attendees will hear from Finch, who was one of seven children raised by his mother in Africa. Because his father was seldom around and his mother struggled to afford basic necessities, Finch often had to beg to make ends meet.

When Finch was in sixth grade, he and his siblings were invited to a Christmas play at a local church. Afterward, all the children were given shoebox gifts, which was the first gift Finch had ever received.

Soon after receiving the shoebox, Finch lost his father. The love he felt from the people who had sent him the gift brought him comfort in a time of deep sorrow and grief.

Now, Finch is using his story to encourage and remind volunteers of the huge impact these simple gifts have on the lives of children around the world.

About Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham.

The mission of Operation Christmas Child is “to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 157 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

For more information about how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call (615) 962-7145 or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ.