First Baptist Church of Rolla was recognized Sunday, June 1, for its service to children in need around the world.

First Baptist Church of Rolla was recognized Sunday, June 1, for its service to children in need around the world.
For more than eight years, First Baptist Church has served as an official collection point for Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse that delivers gift-filled shoeboxes to more than 113 million children affected by war, natural disasters, disease, famine, poverty and persecution in more than 100 countries.
Every year, thousands of shoebox gifts are packed and donated in Rolla and the surrounding communities and collected by volunteers at First Baptist Church.
“It takes a tremendous effort to get shoebox gifts into the hands of millions of hurting children each year, and our church partners play a vital part,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “On behalf of the children who receive these gifts, we thank everyone who makes it possible.”
In 2005, Rolla became an official drop-off location for Operation Christmas Child and in 2008 they became the official collection center for boxes in south central Missouri.
Currently 13 counties relay the shoebox gifts they collect during National Collection Week in November to First Baptist Church in Rolla. Over 100,000 shoebox gifts for needy children have come through the church over the last eight years.
Janice Hartinger, Cherri Crump and Harriet Bain, all members of First Baptist Church in Rolla, run the collection center with the help of numerous volunteers from the church.
“Operation Christmas Child is excited to formally honor First Baptist in Rolla for their dedication and eight years of service,” said Brooklyn White, area coordinator for Operation Christmas Child in south central Missouri.
More than 84,000 churches and groups in the United States partner with Operation Christmas Child. Around 4,000 of those churches serve as collection points for the project. In 2014, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 10 million children.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call White at 573-480-3176 or visit National Collection Week is Nov. 17-24, can be packed online at