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Monday, December 12, 2011

The Honor of the Last Box

After you deliver your perfectly packed shoebox to your relay center (maybe your own church), do you know what happens to that treasure chest?  Ever thought about what happens between you and the hands of the child meant to receive it?
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It goes on a fabulous adventure!

First, it goes to the local Collection Center- where all of the boxes in your area go before being sent to a processing center. For example, Mountain Brook Community Church is the Collection Center for the Birmingham, AL metro area and it gets boxes as far as 50 miles or so out.  Lots of boxes......

34,358 to be exact this year!

The Collection center volunteers log your boxes (to help keep the count accurate) and check them for labels and rubber bands.  They do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING else to your gift!

And by the way, they do not descriminate volunteers based on height, weight, or ability to reach the counter....
From the Collection Center it goes to the processing center.  There are 7 of these nationwide:
Atlanta (Our PC)
Orange County
The Processing Center is the last place in the U.S. that your box will be touched.  Here they are opened, your donation is taken out, they are given a quick look through to make sure you didn't accidentally put any liquids or chocolates in (or toys with weapons), then they are taped, scanned if you have a "Follow My Box" label, and cartonized by age and gender.  Once the carton is taped- it will not see the light of day until it is being opened by the receiving country for distribution.


Please hear me now.  I want to disspell some myths that I have heard circulating.....
1.  Yes, plastic shoeboxes are fine.  Some do actually crack/break- but they are used by the receivers as holders for their grain and water and other things that make them very useful.
2. Yes, candy is absolutely welcomed in the box!  It may be, as I saw one lady post on FB, unhealthy- but look at the big picture!!! What is one treat in a lifetime??????!!!!
3. No, packing a HUGE box is NOT a good idea! A standard shoebox size box is VERY important to the logistics of box distribution.  An estimated 14 shoeboxes will fit into each carton.  Distribution Project Leaders in-country request a certain number of cartons based on each carton containing at least those 14- so you see how devastating it could be for a child expecting a box if he is in a line of 10 kids to get a box but there were only 4 huge boot boxes in the carton!! 6 hearts instantly broken!


After the carton is taped, it is loaded and sent to the nearest port city that will be sending them off!  Fairly amazing, isn't it?  You know what's even more amazing?  Taking a team to the Processing Center to work!

And THEN having a member of your team chosen to carton the last box of the season in the Atlanta PC!!!

(That's Lee, our Community Relations Coordinator!)

And what could possibly be EVEN MORE amazing then that?????

Being asked by my fearless leader, Jamie, to.........

PRAY OVER THE SHOEBOXES as they are sent out of the PC on the final day of processing!!!!

Just so you know, I <3 OCC All Year Long! And you can too!  If you have a heart for this ministry, please consider becoming a year round volunteer in your commuinty!  We have lots of roles to fill!  Just ask me and I'll tell you how!

1 comment:

snapdragon said...

My parents just got back from the PC in Boone- this was their 4th year as volunteers and my mom got picked to carton the last box!
They then signed up to be year-round volunteers in our area (SW Washington State).
They are having a blast with OCC.