PWOC sends Christmas blessings overseas
Members of the Fort McPherson Protestant Women of the Chapel lay hands to pray Nov. 18 over the shoeboxes of gifts they sent overseas to needy children as part of Operation Christmas Child.

This year, thanks to the efforts of the Fort McPherson Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC), the needy in other countries will have a better Christmas.

The PWOC worked with Operation Christmas Child (OCC), an organization that supplies relief gifts to children from countries all over the world, to send shoeboxes full of gifts to needy Families.

"These are children from very remote locations who struggle to survive on a daily basis," said Lorene Hutchinson, PWOC president. "Why not be a part of putting a smile on the face of a child'"

Smiles will be put on the faces of at least 45 children who will receive the shoeboxes that the PWOC collected.

Each of the boxes has a toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, socks and a variety of toys, such as crayons, coloring books, trinkets, stuffed animals or dolls for girls, Hutchinson said.

The collection efforts took place over the course of November, said Kaitlynn Ferber, U.S. Army Garrison Chaplain Office volunteer.

"We were blessed with so many toys and supplies," said Hutchinson, adding donations were so successful that the PWOC ran out of shoeboxes to fill. Leftover items, however, did not go to waste.

Individuals from U.S. Army Forces Command took the remaining supplies to an OCC warehouse in Atlanta to fill any additional boxes, Hutchinson said.

The success was a surprise to Hutchinson, who initially hoped to fill 20 boxes.

"I had no idea that we would (more than) double that amount. I didn't realize how generous people were going to be in this project," she said. People were also generous in helping with preparation: 12 women came out to help build, fill and wrap the boxes, said Hutchinson. Although OCC is a worldwide event, Hutchinson said she believes much of the group's focus will be on Haiti, which suffered an earthquake Jan. 12.

To help people know exactly where their boxes end up, OCC has developed a tracking system. Stickers can be printed from online and placed on the box, Hutchinson said. The sticker will then be scanned before delivery.

Upon delivery, a message will be sent to an individual's e-mail account informing them of the box's location. No matter where the gifts end up, Hutchinson said it will be a real blessing to those receiving them.

"OCC gives children things that they would otherwise never get," she said. "Watching videos of the children receive their boxes makes anyone with a heart cry."

Videos can be seen at OCC's website,

Even if the PWOC doesn't end up seeing the children who receive their boxes, Hutchinson said giving is still worth it.

"There is something about giving that makes people happy - probably like Jesus knew what he had to do when he died on the cross for us. It was his gift to us and he knew we'd receive joy for it - so he was willing," Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said just as the children will be blessed in receiving, the PWOC was also blessed in giving.

"It was such a great time when we stopped and prayed over the boxes and asked the Lord to bless the particular child who would receive each of the boxes we had packed with care. It made us all remember why we were doing it, and it was really special," she said. "Serving is truly a blessing and I think each of the PWOC ladies were blessed that day - I know I was."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16