Cornerstone Christian Center builds toys year-round as part of Operation Christmas Child |

Cornerstone Christian Center builds toys year-round as part of Operation Christmas Child

Volunteers fill shoeboxes with gifts at Cornerstone Christian Center's packing party as part of Operation Christmas Child.
Photo courtesy of Lynelle Lindberg

Springs, summer, winter and fall, Cornerstone Christian Center in Basalt prepares for Christmas all year long. 

Just ask Lynelle Lindberg who helps organize Operation Christmas Child at Cornerstone Christian Center.

“If we’re not cutting out nativity scenes in July, we’re not going to make our goal,” Lynelle said.

This year, volunteers from all walks of life packed over 900 shoeboxes with handmade gifts and goods that will get shipped to children across the globe.

“The children who receive these boxes perhaps never received a gift ever,” Lindberg said. “We’re trying to show our children here that we have everything we need and more.” 

Operation Christmas Child began in the United Kingdom in 1990 and later partnered with the international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse.

According to, since 1993 Operation Christmas Child has sent gift-filled shoeboxes to 168 million children in over 100 countries affected by disease, famine, natural disasters, poverty and war. 

At Cornerstone Christian Center, the gift-making process begins in January when volunteers meet for what Lindberg called “crafternoons.”

At the get-togethers, volunteers construct jump ropes, tic-tac-toe boards, dominoes and other items that will fill shoeboxes closer to Christmas. 

“I just believe that there is so much love that can go into the item that you are creating,” Lindberg said. 

Cornerstone Christian Center hosts a packing party in November to fill the shoeboxes before sending them to The Orchard in Carbondale, which serves as an Operation Christmas Child collection site.

From Carbondale, shoeboxes go to a processing center in Denver before being shipped abroad.

“Historically, many of the Denver boxes, which ours are included in, will end up in Mexico,” Lindberg said.  

In addition to handmade gifts, each shoebox also receives a few purchased goods such as hygiene products and other necessities. 

According to Lindberg, volunteers remove packaging from store-bought gifts in order to reduce waste in the countries where the shoeboxes end up.

Volunteers, oftentimes children, fill shoeboxes with gifts they believe other kids their own age would enjoy.

Shoeboxes go to boys and girls between the ages of 2 and 14.

According to Lindberg, due to the popularity of Operation Christmas Child locally, beginning in 2020 volunteers will meet twice a month at Cornerstone Christian Center to build handmade toys for next year’s holiday season.

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