It was like an assembly line in process when local volunteers, Bonnie Winek-Kutz, at left, and Linda Shumard, at right, check out the contents of the shoeboxes they are processing at the Operation Christmas Child processing center in Minneapolis, Minn. Churches, families and individuals from throughout the area collected toys, school supplies and personal care items to pack in a shoebox for shipping to third world countries and children in disaster areas, including victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey.
It’s obvious that volunteer Laurie Hanzal was engrossed in her work at the Operation Christmas Child processing center.
Barb Gabriel was literally over her head in shoeboxes. A total of 730,000 shoeboxes were processed through the Minneapolis site, one of eight processing centers in the United States. More than 100 million boxes have been collected since the program began in 1993.
Taking a break for lunch were local Operation Christmas Child volunteers, from left around the table, LuAnn Lindquist, local OCC?coordinator, Mary Kaluza, Bonnie Winek-Kutz, Linda Shumard, Barb Gabriel, Julie Bietala and Sara Bietala. Julie Bietala, who is from Norway, Mich., is the Church Relations Coordinator for Operation Christmas Child for the entire Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Samaritan’s Purse, the mother organization for Operation Christmas Child, collects shoebox gifts all year long for disaster victims. Samaritan’s Purse, directed by Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, is the first responders to victims of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, and other disasters all over the world.