Totally Giving Back: Churches devoted to Operation Christmas Child

Christmas Child Collage Christmas Child Collage

Members of two rural Ohio churches in 2020 gathered and packed donations for Operation Christmas Child, which provides items for needy children across the globe. Volunteers from St. John Lutheran Church in Celina and Coldwater United Methodist Church filled a total of 977 shoeboxes with items for young children. Totally Promotional donated thousands of tote bags, drawstring bags, drinkware and lunch boxes.

Here is the success story from 2019 and additional information about the international project:

Members of two churches in Mercer County, Ohio, in 2019 filled more than 1,800 shoeboxes with donated items for children in need around the world.

The local mission is part of Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse. It is a global effort that brings aid to children in crisis.

Stepping up to meet the need

More than two dozen volunteers from St. John Lutheran Church (the Purple Door Church) in Celina, Ohio, and Coldwater (Ohio) Methodist Church took part in the “Shoebox Ministry” at separate packing parties in mid-November 2019. The crews worked at stations and periodically prayed for the children who will receive the items.

The volunteers — ranging in age from preschoolers to senior citizens — filled the shoeboxes with crayons, cups, clothing, small toys, toothbrushes, bar soap, washcloths, balls, bags, stuffed animals and other items. Totally Promotional donated 2,860 products, including sunglasses, bags, drinkware and totes to the cause.

“This is the Purple Door Church’s first year for participating,” explained Janelle Gross, who just completed her first year as the church’s director of children’s ministry.

Gross has been involved in the OCC project at the Coldwater church since 2005. She said several members of the Purple Door Church previously participated in OCC at other venues.

What is Operation Christmas Child?

Operation Christmas Child is an international missionary that provides local partners around the world with small toys, school supplies and hygiene items as a way to reach out to children with the Good News of Jesus Christ, according to its website. The shoeboxes are given to children affected by war, poverty, natural disasters, famine and disease, and sent to youngsters living on Native American reservations in the U.S.

The staff at Totally Promotional is proud to be a part of the local OCC project. Congratulations to area volunteers on completing such a worthwhile mission!

Totally Giving Back Logo

Totally Giving Back is a program supported by and its staff to help individuals and groups in need. We believe it's important to give back to our local communities and spread hope to others around the world.

Learn more about Totally Giving Back and how the team at is making a difference.