Parkersburg church recognized for work with Samaritan’s Purse

Fairlawn Baptist Church Pastor Jason Spade shows off an award presented to the church for its work for Operation Christmas Child. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — A local church received an award earlier this month recognizing its work over the past decade with the Samaritan’s Purse organization.

Fairlawn Baptist Church in Parkersburg has been a drop-off location for shoeboxes that are collected, filled and shipped to needy children all over the world.

Over a period of 10 years, 87,517 shoeboxes have been shipped by the church to Boone, N.C., at which point they are sent around the world.

A part of the Samaritan’s Purse organization is Operation Christmas Child which fills the shoeboxes with gifts, toys, hygiene products and other needed items to different parts of the world.

This ministry helps to “demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way,” Parkersburg Area Logistics Coordinator Rusty Keplinger said.

Operation Christmas Child Area Coordinator Wayne Burnosky, Pastor Jason Spade, Fred Morgan, Paula Keplinger, Deanna Morgan, and Rusty Keplinger commemorate the presentation of an award to Fairlawn Baptist Church for their dedication to the Operation Christmas Child project. (Photo Provided)

For his commitment to the Operation Christmas Child project, Fred Morgan, central drop-off leader and Fairlawn Baptist OCC project leader, was presented an award.

“Fred has held both positions for the past 10 years. In addition to 1,714 shoebox gifts donated by their own parishioners during National Collection Week in November 2020, Fred and his volunteer team at Fairlawn shipped and received a total of 5,463 shoeboxes from individuals, churches and civic groups,” Keplinger said.

These donations came from Tyler, Doddridge, Ritchie, Pleasants, Wood, Jackson, Wirt, Calhoun, Roane and Gilmer counties.

For these efforts, Morgan and his team were presented the 2019 and 2020 Gold Star for excellence by the Great Lakes Region of Operation Christmas Child which covers Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia.

During National Collection Week in November, more than 100,000 volunteers in the U.S. help to prepare the packages and 260,000 people overseas help to distribute them.

Last year, eight of the nine million boxes shipped came from the U.S.

“Anyone can pack a shoebox and it’s never too early to start,” Keplinger said. “Learn how to pack a shoebox, view gift suggestions and read inspiring stories of the impact of a simple gift at samaritanspurse.org/occ.”

Candice Black can be reached at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.


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