Since 2006 members of the First Baptist Church has been spreading Christmas joy with shoe boxes.

Each shoe box is filled with items for children in other countries to enjoy on Christmas Day. This project is known as Operation Christmas Child.

“The reason we started the shoe boxes is that we wanted to find (a way) through (our) ministry where we felt would really help children come to know the Lord as their personal Lord and Savior,” said Barbara Rice. “That’s why we started it. We feel like this is what God (wants) for us to do.”

Rice and other members brought in boxes and filled it with items such as school supplies, hygiene products, small toys and other trinkets.

This year, the church filled 103 boxes and sent them off to other counties such as Ecuador and Mexico. Every year since they started, the church members try to have at least 100 Christmas shoe boxes done.

“We get to track our shoe boxes and see exactly where they go,” Rice said. “The Christmas shoe boxes may be the only thing some of these children get for Christmas.”

The church hopes to continue the Christmas tradition for years to come and put a smile on children’s faces.