Thursday, November 23, 2017

Cycling 200 Miles to Ship Shoeboxes

by Danielle McCarty, a volunteer area team coordinator for Operation Christmas Child in Suffolk County, N.Y. She’s raising money for Operation Christmas Child as part of Team Samaritan’s Purse.

“Danielle, what more are you being called to do for OCC?”

That was the challenge given to me in 2007 from Wade Mitzel after he finished his Run Across North Dakota to garner shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Wade had just run the equivalent of 14 marathons in 16 days. My response was, “OK I’ll pack another box!” But that challenge has come back to mind many times.

Operation Christmas Child Team Samaritan's Purse

Danielle wants to raise enough money to ship 200 Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts.

I am an avid cyclist, logging between 75 and 100 miles per week. I am also the coordinator of an area team for Operation Christmas Child. On any given ride, I pass many churches whose names do not come up on my shoebox logs in November during National Collection Week. I was riding several months ago and pondering ways I could use cycling to promote Operation Christmas Child. Well, I found a way. This year I will be riding Fork-to-Fork telling churches about Operation Christmas Child. From September 30 to October 4, I will travel 200 miles from Orient Point, on the North Fork of Long Island, to Montauk Point on Long Island’s South Fork.

I absolutely love being a part of this ministry that brings hope and love to hurting children around the world through gift-filled shoeboxes. It has been crazy and amazing, hence cramazing. Here’s my story.

I packed my first shoebox in 1995 as the pastor’s wife at Clinton Corners Evangelical Free Church. At that time, I started praying for the opportunity to put a shoebox into the hands of a child one day. The next year I was the project leader, the person who led the charge for Operation Christmas Child in our church.

In 2003, we moved to the Midwest. The church that my husband was pastoring did not participate in the ministry, so we introduced it there. I later met Wade through my job and followed along as he did his run. I thought about the amazing way God was using him and then was challenged to see what God was calling me to do.

Operation Christmas Child Team Samaritan's Purse

Danielle is one of thousands of volunteers who work in our processing centers each year.

This led me in 2008 to take a team from our church to the Minnesota Processing Center to prepare the boxes for their trip oversees. My oldest son also volunteered at the local collection center with his class.

In 2009, my family moved to New York, and my husband began pastoring at Grace Gospel Church. I was bummed that year because I wasn’t able to volunteer at the Processing Center since it was full. I contacted our local collection center to see if my family could work there and was invited to come that night! I met the Northeast regional director that night and told her my story. She got me onto a team going to the Charlotte, N.C., Processing Center. I have been back every year since.

In 2010, I became the area coordinator for the team that serves in Suffolk County, N.Y. I am so blessed and privileged to work with some awesome people on this team! We have seen God at work as OCC has grown in our county.

Remember that prayer I prayed in 1995? In 2012, I had the opportunity to have that answered as I headed to Uganda and got to be a part of shoebox distributions there for six days. It was an amazing experience to actually see the impact of a shoebox and hear the children’s responses to them.

For my ride, I have set a fundraising goal of $1,400; that is the shipping for 200 shoeboxes, one for each mile that I ride. You can follow my training and ride at http://cramazing.wordpress.com/.