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The Cherryville Eagle

Cherryville YMCA taking collections for “Operation Christmas Child”

Oct 25, 2019 08:15AM

Sandy Homesley, Butch Boyd, and Sonia Baker with the Operation Christmas Child boxes they are asking folks to come by, fill up with toys and stuff, and return to them. (photos by MEP/The Eagle)



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Cherryville Family YMCA’ s Butch Boyd and his crew are always pretty excited about Christmas, but this year there is another reason to be excited.

They are working again to fill up boxes of toys and needed items for the children around the world who receive the boxes from Operation Christmas Child.

Operation Christmas Child is part of Samaritan’s Purse, which is a part of the Bill Graham Ministry, noted Boyd.

Sonia Baker, the “Y’s” On-Site Director for after School and Summer Camp said while this isn’t a “first” for the Cherryville “Y”, it is essentially a “first” for her doing this as a staff member of the Y.

“My mom, Christa Gantt, headed up the Operation Christmas Child at Cherryville’s First Baptist Church for several years,” she said. 

Baker noted Operation Christmas Child has been around since the early 90s, and has many collection sites around the state and nation. The processing center for this area, she said, is in Charlotte.

“When we get the boxes filled, we are going to take about 30 or so of us with some of the kids here to the processing center to watch them get the filled boxes ready for shipping out to the needy children. Our date to be at the processing center is Nov. 29, from 1 to 6 p.m.”

Baker said the collection process is for Y members and for non-members as well.

“The YMCA will take a bus from here to Charlotte. We have it reserved for 39, but we may not have that many. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Baker added that they need people to sign up, and that one need not have to fill a box in order to go with them to the center.

YMCA Membership and Wellness Coordinator Butch Boyd said his goal was to fill 100 boxes to take to the processing center, which is located at 7100 Forest Point Blvd., Charlotte.

Sandy Homesley, the Financial Coordinator for the Cherryville YMCA, said, “Butch and I did this for three years. We went to Charlotte two of those years with our senior citizens, delivering the boxes they packed to the processing center. It was a great feeling to see what they do there to get the gift boxes ready to send out.”

Homesley and Boyd estimated they have filled and sent out over 300 present-filled boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

“We currently have 50 of the red and green boxes right now,” said Boyd, who added, “Sandy and Sonia said folks can go out and buy those clear plastic shoebox-sized plastic storage bin boxes and fill them up just as well.”

Homesley noted some of the things people could look for include, but aren’t limited to, coloring books, small stuffed animals, pencils, writing pads, books, small soccer balls or footballs, or other sports-related items.

“Also, small, safe toys for boys and girls are great,” she noted. “Soaps, socks, washcloths, but no toothpaste or liquids.” 

Said Butch, “Being in the processing center is a humbling experience. It’s a real blessing. For us, it’s all about Jesus!”

Sandy agreed, adding, “It’s about helping children in need and how we can show the love of God to them.”

Boyd noted that if anyone comes to the Cherryville Y for an OCC box to fill, they request that it is brought back to the Cherryville Y so they can take it to the processing center, as not every Gaston County YMCA is doing this.

Boyd and Homesley said monetary donations are also accepted up until Dec. 14, and can be brought to the Y’s “Breakfast with Santa Day”.

For more information or to ask when to come by and get a box to fill for Operation Christmas Child, call the Cherryville Family YMCA at (704) 445-9622.