Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving- Thanks Giving- Operation Christmas Child Comes to Diamond Bar

"I have found a paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love." 
~Mother Theresa

Giving the gift of time are volunteers (l-r) Cindy, Ashley and Alysa Van Vliet- Cathy Richardson, Sandy Hardin, Kathy Cosier.
Ann Lovell in the box- and Dick Clark representing the men.

Diamond Bar has heart. When there is need, this community is generous. Back when I was an editor covering donations to the victims of Hurricane Katrina- the students of Diamond Bar High School pulled together over $70,000 for the American Red Cross over a single weekend in this solidly middle class community.

VHA is a  Diamond Bar company I had not heard of until yesterday, when local coordinator for Operation Christmas Child, Ann Lovell told me that they delivered 1315 boxes filled with gifts for children with over $9,000 to pay for their shipment to everywhere in the world Operation Christmas child serves. 

When the non-denominational Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham first founded this avenue of Christian outreach, he thought 1,000 shoe boxes was a nice goal.  But God blessed the program- people hunger for simple ways to give-  the 100 millionth shoe box gift handed out . The program now well on its way to distributing its second hundred million gift.

Angie Sielert and Katy Cosier joyfully load up a carton for shipment 
Best known for distributing gifts to children living in impoverished areas abroad, Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse. This year,  500,000 boxes will go to the Philippines, where Typhoon Haiyan wrecked so much havoc.

Not as well known, "the shoe box project"  also reaches out to where national tragedies have disrupted family life here in the United States. From serving families from Hurricanes Katrina through Sandy; to where tornadoes wrecked the heartland of Oklahoma.

Libby Burgtorf of First Baptist in Walnut delivers 175 boxes on behalf of her home congregation in care of Ann Lovell at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Diamond Bar
The name of our national holiday is nuanced. The truest expression of thanks is to give of what we have, through any avenue available. Some joined this drive as individuals, some coordinated through churches, irrespective of denomination.

A truck with customer donations from the Chick-fil-A in the City of Industry is stacked and ready to sort by gender and appropriate age categories
Some businesses incentive  their customers. Most Chick-fil-A locations are giving diners who donate a box  a coupon for a free chicken sandwich.

Pastor John Scharlemann is so pleased at the opportunity for Mt Calvary Lutheran Church to host the community desire to serve "children who have very little in areas of great need."  It was at his invitation that I learned of this opportunity to serve others through my Christian faith.

Words of prayer, silent or said, are best when they are the beginning of a chain of action. 

The relay center for Operation Christmas Child will be open this week. No gift is to humble, Please feel free to drop by with a check, a shoe box filled with appropriate items or a bit of time. 

Nov 18-21 3 pm- 6 pm
Friday Nov 20 Noon - 8 pm
Saturday Nov 23 9 am - 6 pm
Sunday November 24 11 am to 1 pm
Monday, Nov 25 9 am-1 pm

Mount Calvary Lutheran Church is located at at 2330 Golden Springs Drive, Diamond Bar, California, 91765.  ( It shares a property line with Lorbeer Middle School) 


Anonymous said...

Wonderful!!! Isn't it great that Americans are the most giving and generous people in the world!
I have seen videos of Franklin Graham and crew handing out those gift boxes to little children in foreign countries and their reaction makes one tear up and heart swell with pride.

FYI: Tonight at our meeting of the Diamond Bar Republican Women, Fed. we are taking donations and donating all the monies from our raffles to the victims in the Philippines.

Good blog Lydia!

XO Trisha

OldLady Of The Hills said...

What a wonderful way to truly celebrate the Gift of Giving for the Holidays, or for anytime there is a need....All of these are such worthy efforts, Lydia....Bless Diamond Bar and all it's people who have so much generosity of Spirit and Heart!

Lydia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lydia said...

This addendum was received this afternoon from the SGV Area coordinator

The first year, 1993, Franklin Graham called a good friend of his, a pastor at a local church and asked for help. The call went out and in less than two weeks, over 15,000 shoe boxes went to Bosnia, taken by Franklin himself. The stories surrounding that first trip are hilarious. He called a good friend, Dennis Agajanian, a Christian musician, and asked him to go with him. "Dennis, are you ready to die?" "Sure." While over there, they got into a raw egg throwing contest at each other's vans. Hilarious.

In His Service,

Ellie Graves

nikkipolani said...

Such a fruitful and touching ministry. And so very easy to get involved with at every level. Samaritan's Purse is a very lean well-oiled organization (roomie has had opportunity to see them from the inside out).

p.s., thanks for your good wishes and prayers for her recovery; those are already being answered.