National Spokesperson for OPC Speaking @ 1st Hillsville UMC May 24th

Mary Damron to speak at Hillsville’s First United Methodist Church.


The National Spokesperson for Operation Christmas Child will be speaking during the evening service on May 24th.


HILLSVILLE, VA, May 11, 2009— Operation Christmas Child National Spokesperson, Mary Damron, will be speaking at Hillsville’s First United Methodist Church on Sunday evening, May 24th at 6:30 p.m.  The public is invited to hear Mary share her powerful story of love and dedication to the children served through Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse. 

Damron first heard about Operation Christmas Child in 1994 on a television show airing an invitation from Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse, to participate in the project by packing shoe box gifts for needy children worldwide. Her heart already burdened from African refugees and Bosnian war victims, Damron took up Graham’s invitation and called for her neighbors to do the same.  Mary was driven to collect some 1,200 shoe box gifts that she hand-delivered on Thanksgiving Day in her twenty-ton truck from rural West Virginia to the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C.

Struck by her deep faith and undaunted spirit, Graham invited Damron to travel with him on a box distribution trip to Europe.  “Giving a shoe box doesn’t take the children off of the garbage dumps, out of the orphanages, or off of the streets, but it changes how they feel about themselves,” said Mary. “It tells them they are special! They have human value and a Creator who loves them. I watched a filthy, smelly, five-year-old girl with matted hair who was living on a garbage dump pretend to be a princess, blowing kisses after she put on the jewelry she found in her shoe box gift.”  Since that first trip, Damron has helped distribute boxes around the world.

Mary was born and raised in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia and has experienced poverty first-hand during her humble beginnings where she was left to care for seven siblings in her teen years. God has used her experiences to ignite her heart for needy children around the world. Mary’s mission with Operation Christmas Child has taken her from the devastated streets of Sarajevo to the filthy living conditions in a Kosovo refugee camp, to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, and to the White House Oval Office.

Mary has been married for 36 years and continues to reside in the small town of Ike’s Fork, West Virginia, where she is the mother of three and grandmother of five. Known as mother, grandmother, Mama Gump, and Operation Christmas Child Spokesperson, Mary Damron travels nationwide sharing the excitement of bringing the Good News of God’s love to millions of hurting children living in some of the most desperate places around the world. 

For more information on the talk or to learn how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 540-382-4479 or visit

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