Guatemalan Girl’s Celebration of Shoeboxes

CLIFTON, TN — Jane Marie Franks in Tennessee chose to celebrate her 16th birthday by inviting family and friends to pack 500 Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts. She was inspired to pack more boxes after visiting her native Guatemala, the country from which she was adopted as a child.

Jane Marie Franks:

My name is Jane Marie Franks, and we are in my backyard in Clifton, Tennessee. And this is just my quiet small town, quiet home. I love Operation Christmas Child. I know that some kid is going to get a blessing out of it. And I always think, “What if I was in that position, of receiving that box?” Just thinking about how much a box could just change a kid’s life– it’s just so incredible.

We originally started packing shoeboxes with my church, and my family has continued since.

Carolyn FranksVolunteer:

We have done shoeboxes since she was small, but we didn’t do as many as we do now. That was always exciting to her, to go buy things to fill a shoebox.

Jane Marie Franks:

Each year when it comes around, we go to stores like Hobby Lobby and pick out each item.

Grayford FranksVolunteer:

We couldn’t have children. So Carolyn said that to me for years and years on end, to– “Well, let’s adopt, let’s adopt.” And I said, “If you want to adopt, let’s have at it.” Well, when I got home, we were signed up to start the process. And so here we are, this- what, 15 and a 1/2 years later, we’ve got Jane Marie.

Jane Marie Franks:

I was born in Guatemala. I was adopted and was six months old when I was brought to Clifton, Tennessee. God wanted me to be here, and so He allowed me to come into their lives.

It was in 2019 that I got to go back and visit my home country and learn more about the history, the culture, the people.

And I remember this one boy asking for money to be able to go to school. In the morning on Monday, I dread going to school. That’s my nightmare. But to him, that was his dream. And that was something that really struck me to want to start packing shoeboxes even more for kids.

Grayford FranksVolunteer:

That touched her so much. She has a desire to help others.

Jane Marie Franks:

Operation Christmas Child opens up a way for a child to learn about the Gospel. Just something so small could just mean the world to somebody else.

Last year, I had the opportunity to pack– with just my family– 500 alone. And this year, for my 16th birthday, we had the opportunity to invite a bunch of people to pack another 500 boxes. It was so much fun.

Carolyn FranksVolunteer:

We have learned that, I think, over 160 million shoeboxes have been delivered all around the world, and to remote locations. Because I always go “Look, where did our shoeboxes go?”

Grayford FranksVolunteer:

To me, it means the last three verses in Matthew: Go forth, preach, teach, and baptize in the Name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. And this is a way for us to go, through Operation Christmas Child.

Jane Marie Franks:

And this entire journey has just been so amazing. I only just hope to encourage others to share the Good News. It might be 500 boxes. It might be one. It might be two. I just hope to share with you all the joy of giving to others, allowing God to use you. The best way to describe it is just awesome. Thank you.


Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet the needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the Church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

CONTACT: Melissa Nystrom, [email protected]


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