What is Operation Christmas Child?

It is a project under the umbrella of the Samaritan’s Purse ministries.  Shoeboxes filled with new toys, school supplies, and personal items are collected and delivered to children in need around the world. The goal is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way.

Operation Christmas Child began in 1993, with a call to fill shoeboxes with gifts for children in war-torn Bosnia, and has reached over 209,000,000 children in more than 170 countries.  Children come to local churches to learn about Jesus Christ and God’s love, and leave with the opportunity for the eternal gift of salvation and a tangible gift of a shoebox of surprises. Children are invited back to participate in The Greatest Journey 12 week discipleship program.  This year marked 50 million children completing this program!

National Collection Week

First Baptist Church is the Central Drop-off Location for the south central KY region.  This means, we collect shoeboxes packed by individuals, churches, and groups around Warren County, but also collect cartons of shoeboxes that have been collected at 8 other drop-off locations around our region.  In 2022, we had 19,145 shoeboxes pass through our central drop-off location, ready to be loaded and shipped to a processing center in North Carolina, and then out to locations around the world. 

National Collection Week, the week we open our collection centers, will be Monday, November 13 through Monday, November 20, 2023.  Members of FBC will bring their shoeboxes to the church beginning October 22 with the final day being Sunday, November 12

Our 2023 collection center will be opened during the following times:

Monday, Nov. 13: 4-6pm

Tuesday, Nov. 14: 4-6pm

Wednesday, Nov. 15: 9-11am

Thursday, Nov. 16: 5-7pm

Friday, Nov. 17: 9-11am

Saturday, Nov. 18: 9-11am

Sunday, Nov. 19: 3-5pm

Monday, Nov. 20: 8am-5pm

Our collection entrance is the side door of the ROC.  Look for signs.

Build a Shoebox

Anyone can build a shoebox! Shoeboxes can be regular shoeboxes, plastic shoeboxes, the printed OCC shoeboxes, or we have even had groups fill small toolboxes.  The OCC shoeboxes and other supplies will be in the FBC Narthex beginning in October.  

You can also use the links below to help you get started:

How to pack a shoebox

gift suggestions

FBCBG has a goal page set up on the Build a Shoebox Online link below.  Please use this if you opt to let OCC pack a shoebox for you.  This way your box will be included in our collection count.  The cost is $25 per box and is a good option for those who find getting out and shopping a difficult task. You can get to our goal page using any of the following ways:

FBC Build a Shoebox Online

Go to Samaritan’s Purse Build a Shoebox Online and search.  You can use the zip code 42104 or First Baptist Church Bowling Green in the search bar.


Use this QR code.

Interesting Facts:

  • Shoeboxes are not delivered to the same community twice, so a child will only receive 1 shoebox in his/her lifetime.

  • Children do not know they are going to receive a gift, it is a complete surprise.

  • Each shoebox, and the child who will receive it, has been prayed over approximately 5 times before it leaves our collection center, and many more times after.

  • You can track your shoebox to see where it goes.

  • Shoebox cartons have traveled by camel, elephant, yak, flat boat, men’s shoulders, bicycle, horse and buggy, and more to reach the communities where they will be distributed.

  • Adults, who received a shoebox as a child, are known to still have that shoebox because of how much it meant to them.

  • For some children, this shoebox is the first and only gift they ever receive.