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Christmas Shoebox provides gifts for kids in need

Once again, Hillcrest Baptist Church served as the drop off point for children’s Christmas shoeboxes for 2023 and as in the past seven years, Brian Wallace was their Drop off Team Leader. “I’ve been doing this for about 10 years now,” he shared while manning his post at the drop off point at a table in the Hillcrest Family Life Center. Individuals from throughout the area including those who come from Hartville to Stoutland as well as throughout Laclede County, come to leave their stuffed boxes, across a week-long collection effort. Brian and other volunteers, like Netti Percival are there each evening for a week in mid-November at Hillcrest to receive and pray over the boxes as they are brought in. “That’s a very important part of this,” Brian continued, “to pray over the boxes.” In the summer of 1993, a gentleman from England contacted Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse asking if he would be willing to help with a ministry that involved packing shoeboxes with toys and small gifts for children in Eastern Europe, where the Balkan region was involved in deadly ethnic conflicts. Graham asked a pastor friend, the late Ross Rhoads of Calvary Church of Charlotte if he could help with the mission. Once Pastor Rhoads demonstrated to his church how to pack a shoebox, the church soon had their hallways packed with 11,000 such shoeboxes for distribution. For more on this story, see the LCR.