Shoebox-packing mother loves the impact of Operation Christmas Child.
As a young mother, Julie Quantz found her dual interests in children and charity could come together through Operation Christmas Child. Fast-forward 20 years, and the Didsbury, Alberta resident is enthusiastically telling others about packing shoeboxes as a year-round volunteer.
“I’ve always had an interest in children and I like the idea of doing something charitable at Christmas – especially blessing a child internationally,” she explained.
“Then it became offering the gospel– to be a missionary at my house, sharing the Good News worldwide.”
Julie started small, fitting in shoebox packing around raising two children, who helped her assemble boxes. Then, aided by the support of husband Trevor, she started shopping year-round for school supplies, hygiene items, and toys.
Costa Rica Trip
“Costa Rica was a spark to accelerate the amount of boxes I did. It’s very impactful to hand a box to a child and see their living conditions and the need.”
Last year, more than 370,000 children received a gift-filled shoebox packed by generous Canadians like Julie. She and her family assembled 150, and they’re aiming to equal that in 2021.
“Family and friends are usually surprised and shocked at the number,” she admitted with a laugh. “But no one has told me it’s too much.”
Spare Bedroom Storage
Julie reserves a spare room to store shoebox materials like soap, toothbrushes, and toys for girls and boys. As early as September, she sets up an assembly line to fill boxes, with the aid of 18-year-old daughter Emma, as time permits.
The challenge of collecting materials and packing this many boxes is eased by a colleague at the Christian school where Julie works as an educational assistant. This friend helps give the $10 per box donation that covers costs like shipping each shoebox overseas.
Others have given Julie money to pack boxes on their behalf, and one teacher provides Julie with the money to buy enough supplies so that every student whose family can’t afford to participate in the ministry can still pack a shoebox.
Lives Changed by The Greatest Journey
Amidst all this, Julie’s continues her year-round volunteer work as an Operation Christmas Child Area Coordinator, giving leadership to the area team. She is responsible for recruiting, selecting, and leading the volunteers on her team to grow the ministry in their area.
“I believe in what Operation Christmas Child is doing,” Julie said, referring specifically to The Greatest Journey. Whenever possible, this 12-lesson evangelism and discipleship program is offered by partner churches to every child who receives a gift-filled shoebox.
God has used The Greatest Journey to bring millions of children to faith in His Son. Often, these children bring their families to church, where they, too, put their trust in Christ.
“I’ve seen the program in action and it’s making a difference in Heaven,” said Julie.
We thank God for people like Julie, who have been touched by the global impact of this ministry. Will you join her in bringing good news and great joy to children in need?