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Giving back this Christmas

 By Steve Whitlock
Operation Christmas Child Logo

Are you looking for a way to give back this holiday season? Operation Christmas Child, collects shoebox gifts filled with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items and delivers them to children in need to demonstrate love in a tangible way. For some of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received. This effort, the largest of its kind, has collected and delivered more than 178 million shoebox gifts in more than 160 countries.

There are so many stories of what has happened through this effort. Colorado Regional Manager Diana Plyley shared Alex Nsengimana’s story. Alex had experienced firsthand the travesties of Rwanda’s genocide. He lost his caregivers. After fleeing for his life, he ended up in an orphanage. A year later he received a shoebox from Operation Christmas Child. That one gift brought a new hope and love that he desperately needed. Alex now serves with Operation Christmas Child in his home country.

Plyley also told of Boun Thorne, who grew up on a boat in Cambodia with her family. Plyley said, “Her mother cared for Boun and her siblings, but they feared their father due to the abuse that his alcoholism fueled. Boun went to live with her aunt for a time but was taken to a counseling center for victims of human trafficking. At a camp, Boun received her first gift – a bright red and green Operation Christmas Child shoebox filled with a new pair of shoes, hair bows, a jump rope and other gifts. Her favorite item was a stuffed animal that she slept with every night. For the first time, Boun understood what unconditional love was and that it was God’s love which inspired the people who packed her shoebox gift.”

When asked of her hopes for this year, Plyley shared, “Our goal for 2020 is for the U.S. to collect 9.2 million shoebox gifts. My personal hope for this year is that there will be millions of children around the world that will be presented with a shoebox gift that demonstrates to them that they are not forgotten, that there are people around the world who care about them and through hearing about Jesus Christ, they will find hope.”

Plyley said the effort is very dependent upon volunteers. There are a number of individuals in the Castle Pines area who have participated in the past, as well as a number of churches – including Canyons Community Church, Foundry Church, and Grace Chapel Castle Rock. If you would like to participate as a volunteer this year, visit If you would like to learn about serving on an area team, contact Jenny Holland at



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