Each year volunteers at the Disaster Response Warehouse in Decatur organize a Christmas Shoe Box ministry. They collect boxes full of small gifts and supplies for children. The boxes are then shipped to developing countries where United Methodist missionaries and pastors help distribute them to their local communities.
This year, Executive Director of the Warehouse Rev. Ray Crump requested that the churches in the Mountain Lakes District fill 2500 Christmas Shoe Boxes. This was a huge goal for the District comprised of mostly small-membership churches, but they accepted the challenge.
In May, at the District’s Pre-Annual Conference meeting at Albertville First UMC, the shoe boxes we distributed. It was also explained that those boxes were designated to go to the country of Uganda, a country which is hosting more than one million refugees.
According to Mountain Lakes District Administrative Assistant Amy Marbut, “Our churches participated like never before! The people in the Mountain Lakes District are caring, giving and mission-minded people with wonderful hearts.”
By mid-August, the District had collected 2200 filled Christmas Shoe Boxes. Many volunteers came to the District office to help check the boxes, pack them into shipping boxes, load the shipping boxes onto the delivery truck and deliver the boxes to the warehouse. The Upper Sand Mountain Parish donated their truck to pick up all of the boxes and deliver them to the Disaster Response Warehouse in Decatur.
Over the next month, volunteers at the Disaster Warehouse packed and shipped a container of almost 3500 shoeboxes to Uganda. The container left the Warehouse on September 20. It is due to arrive in Africa in November.
All those who participated in this effort agree that God blessed everyone who participated in this mission!