“This is fun,” said Bonnie Mannon as she stuffed toys and gifts into a shoebox at Surry Community College Health and Rehabilitation Center on Monday.
A group of residents had gathered in the dining room of the facility to fill shoeboxes destined for Bannertown Baptist Church’s annual drive for Operation Christmas Child. As they worked quickly through the boxes, Sarah Simpson said they’d keep going as long as there was stuff to put in the boxes. “I’ve got a hundred more in the car,” she said.
Simpson’s husband, Ronnie Simpson, started the program for Samaritan’s Purse at Bannertown 15 or 16 years ago, she said. He is now a resident at SCC Health and Rehab Center and she has picked up where he left off.
Simpson explained to the group that 12 million of the boxes would go all over the world to children in need, as well as staying here in the United States with “boxes going to coal miners in West Virginia, Indians in South Dakota and to Pennsylvania.”
Resident Rebecca McCormick said she’d like for some to go to Puerto Rico, and Simpson assured her that some would.
As the residents assembled their boxes, Simpson told them a story she had heard on a video associated with the program. The tale is of a missionary who got into some dire circumstances and thought maybe they had gotten into more than they could deal with and a child dove under his bed and brought out a shoebox with a little toy car in it that he proudly showed to the missionary.
As the story goes, Simpson said that experience convinced the missionary to stick with it.
Terri Hull, activities director at the facility, discussed with Simpson the possibility of coming back for the staff.
As the boxes were being completed, Simpson said that an in-gathering of the boxes is scheduled for Nov. 13-20 at Bannertown Baptist Church, 1834 Westfield Road, Mount Airy. Monday, Nov. 13 through Thursday, Nov. 16, from 1-3 p.m., Friday, Nov. 17, from 1-5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 19 from 1 – 5 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 20, from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m.
Simpson says the truck leaves at 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 20, so everything has to be there by then. In 2016, Bannertown collected 5,000 boxes. Simpson thinks they can match that amount this year.
“I hope there’ll be more,” she said.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.