Former Russian Recipient of Operation Christmas Child Outreach Package to Speak in South Jacksonville Next Month

By Jeremy Coumbes on February 24, 2024 at 3:21pm

A former overseas recipient of a national Christian relief program is coming to Jacksonville next month to share her story.

For several years now, a number of families in West Central Illinois have participated in the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child program where gift-filled shoe boxes are delivered to needy children overseas.

One of these children, Elena Nicholson was a recipient of a Christmas Child gift box when she was a young girl living in the former Soviet Union. Elena was just 8 years old when she and her sister were moved from an abusive and poverty-stricken home to an orphanage in the U.S.S.R., where she received her shoebox. She says it was the first time she had ever received a gift. Elena and her sister were later adopted by a family here in the United States.

Elena has stayed involved with Operation Christmas Child into adulthood, and she will be telling her story during an event on Saturday, March 9th at the First Christian Church in South Jacksonville.

According to the announcement, Elena wants to thank area residents who participated in last year’s record-setting collection season when more than 1,100 shoe boxes full of toys, school supplies, and personal care products were donated by area families.

The local collection contributed to an all-time high collection of more than ten million gift boxes that were collected and distributed last year.

Elena Nicholson will be speaking during the Operation Christmas Child celebration at First Christian Church on Saturday, March 9th from 10 to 11:30 am.

Organizers say the public is invited to attend and refreshments will be served. First Christian Church is located at 2106 South Main Street in South Jacksonville.