(Left to right) Operation Christmas Child project manager Brenda Tiller with Dot Stone (widow of Jim Stone), Margaret Heustess (daughter of Carolyn Scott), Pam Boswell (daughter of Linda Marotta), Clyde Scott (widower of Linda Scott) and Andrea Bonnoitt (daughter of Carolyn Scott). These volunteers all participated in Operation Christmas Child, and First Baptist Church paid tribute to late family members who supported the annual gifting drive. The Fellowship Hall of Darlington’s First Baptist Church was packed on Sunday afternoon with dozens of volunteers. Busy as Christmas elves, they packed nearly 500 shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, clothing and hygiene items that will be given to children around the world as part of Operation Christmas Child. Local project organizer Brenda Tiller explained that gathering these items is a year-round effort, and churches regularly communicate and organize donation item swaps to ensure each has sufficient items to meet their needs. The annual Samaritan’s Purse program partners with local churches worldwide to deliver gifts of love and hope to children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine. This year, Darlington-area residents hope to collect more than 22,500 gifts to contribute to the 2019 global goal of reaching 11 million children.
Photos by Samantha Lyles