GREENSBORO, NC — Packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child is one of the many activities Lela Mae Cummings enjoys in her still-active lifestyle at “98 and a half years old.”
Leila Mae Cummings:
I’m Leila Mae Cummings , and I’ve lived in the Guilford College area all my life. And I’m at Friends Home Guilford, and I live in the tallest building in the sixth floor. And I have a beautiful view, and the sunsets have been so pretty. I really enjoy being up here. Well, I was born March 27th, 1925. I’m 98 years old, and 98 and a half.
My daddy was a farmer. The land was inherited from my grandfather. Growing up on the farm, I can’t ever remember when I didn’t have a job to do. I had to carry in wood and feed the chickens, and so I tried to keep busy. Well, it’s just me. I mean, I think that’s life. I really feel that I want to serve the Lord and do right. That’s the secret of living, is to keep busy.
We have a pool here. I feel better when I am exercising. I’ve always loved the water. It’s a refreshing feeling. Well, I guess the most favorite act is packing boxes. I’ll put ten on the table. I’ll just go from one box to another and put the item in the shoebox. I always loved dolls. This is so squeezable. Just think, a little girl can just squeeze it like this and love the baby. I’m just so crazy about dolls. When I was young, I really liked them and I still like ’em.
I just think about the little girls and boys and I just love to see their faces. When I was growing up, we got one gift at Christmas time, but I didn’t get a lot of gifts and I could just imagine a little child and I just said, “I’d like to have that “when I was little.”
This is something I never was very good at. I’m not sure how you’re supposed to do it. I guess like that. I might take this myself. When I pack a shoebox, I think I’m doing something worthwhile. And now one desire is, Lord, just let me work up till the time I go.
I’m William Beck and I’m the worship pastor here at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Greensboro. I’m the delivery guy. She gives us a call in about October and invites us to come pick up the boxes that she’s been preparing all year long. By the time we get there, get them picked up and delivered to the church, she’s already started on next year’s boxes.
The thing of it is, I love people, and I want them to love me and not think I’m an old grouch.
Leila Mae packed 861 boxes this year. It really challenges our church body to step up to the plate and do Operation Christmas Child boxes ourselves. Leila Mae is 98 years old. She’s never been married, and she does all of this work on her own. To realize that Lela Mae has been doing this for a number of years, and to realize the thousands of children that’s had an impact with the gospel, with what she’s spread, it’s just unbelievable.
When people see my shoeboxes, I hope is, well here this old woman, 98 years old, can do something. Maybe I could do one shoebox. And then they’d find out the joy for themselves. Shoeboxes, to me, it’s a joy to do ’em.
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.
The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world. Through this project, Samaritan’s Purse partners with the local church worldwide to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and make disciples of the nations.
CONTACT: Kaitlyn Lahm, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Global News Alliance, Still Packing Shoeboxes and Serving the Lord at 98
- Samaritan’s Purse, Official Website