OCC collections largest ever

Published 3:39 pm Monday, November 28, 2011

In it’s tenth year of collections, Southern Pine Electric Cooperative has collected and shipped more than 2,500 shoeboxes to the Operation Christmas Child shoebox ministry organization.
Melanie Harrison, SPEC manger of communications and organizer for the OCC collection, said the 2011 collection was the largest ever for the cooperative and was done all within a two-week period.
“Thanks to the generosity of so many individuals, youth groups, churches, schools and others across Southern Pine Electric Cooperative’s service area, 2,753 boxes were collected,” Harrison said. “Despite the depressed economy, this year’s collection was the largest that Southern Pine has been able to the ministry to date.”
Shoeboxes were collected beginning Oct. 1 and concluded on Nov. 18, Harrison said.
All offices of Southern Pine were marked as collection points including the Brewton, Atmore, Evergreen and Frisco City locations, Harrison said.
“We became a collection point for the OCC ministry in 2002,” Harrison said. “Since then, the co-op has collected more than 2,000 boxes each year due to the compassion and concern of members and friends in the areas of the five counties we serve.”
SPEC offices became a drop-off point when former general manager Jim Byrd wanted to be involved in the collection project for the program.
“Mr. Byrd heard about the program through his church and came to me and asked how we could get involved,” Harrison said. “We followed up on that seven or eight years ago and have been a drop-off location for the program ever since.”
Harrison said SPEC employees worked to prepare the boxes for delivery last week to Tillman’s Corner Baptist Church in Tillman’s Corner near Mobile.
Harrison said the generosity of the public will make the Christmas season enjoyable and memorable for countless children around the world.
“The co-op would like to thank everyone who helped in this effort since it began working with OCC,” Harrison said. “Because of you, many children will receive their first-ever Christmas gift in the coming months. Most importantly, they will also learn about Christ. Thank you for making this possible.”
Operation Christmas Child is a project of The Samaritans Purse and collects shoeboxes filled with small non-violent toys, hard candies, hygienic items, socks, etc., for needy children in more than 130 third-world countries across the globe. Each shoebox also contains a small children’s book about the birth of Christ and the first Christmas. According to OCC officials, for most of the children who receive a shoebox, it is their first exposure, and often their entire family’s, to the Word of Christ.
Southern Pine Electric Cooperative, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, is a
member-owned distribution co-op serving over 20,000 accounts in portions of
Baldwin, Conecuh, Covington, Escambia and Monroe counties. The
co-op is headquartered in Brewton with district offices in Atmore, Evergreen and
Frisco City.