As the holidays approach, many students look forward to the glimmering lights, the falling snow and the presents wrapped under the tree. For some students, thoughts of Christmas began before December even started.
On November 16, Union College Campus Ministries collected their final donations for Operation Christmas Child, a project run by non-profit organization Samaritan’s Purse. Sally Becker, a sophomore social work major and organizer of the project on Union’s campus, describes the operation: “What they [volunteers] do with Operation Christmas Child is put together boxes with toys, hygiene items, clothing that are distributed to children in war-torn or poverty-stricken countries. Along with the boxes, as long as the country allows it, Samaritan’s Purse give the kids Bible studies.”
Last year, Union collected 160 boxes and $70 in monetary donations were also given. Sally explains, “The $70 we got goes to the cost of sending the boxes, that way Samaritan’s Purse doesn’t have to pay that for themselves.” Each box costs approximately $9 to ship so any contribution is helpful. Sally’s goal was to hopefully collect even more, but she describes the essence of the entire operation by stating, “My goal is more than 160, but each box goes to a kid so even if we got only five boxes that’d be great.”
After dropping off all of the donations on November 17, the final count of boxes from Union was 166.
Pastor Rich Carlson, Union’s chaplain, describes the impact OCC has: “I experienced the distribution of OCC boxes and to see the joy on those children's faces reinforced for me the value of supporting such a worthy project. Union students always rise to the opportunities given them to make a difference in someone else's life. I was so blessed to watch the boxes piling up outside my office and to see the joy our students experienced as they gave to someone in need.”
If you missed the deadline to donate or would like to contribute in other ways, there are still opportunities. Becker explains, “You can make a donation anytime to Samaritan’s Purse and...Operation Christmas Child. A monetary donation would help with the fees of getting into countries and the cost of sending the boxes. The ultimate way to help though is through prayer. I think we don’t value giving as much as we should and praying is the most you can do. Pray for the kids who get a Bible study. It’s very simple, but it’s straight to the point and shows who God is, and then they can take the Bible studies home. So, it’s not just the kids, it’s the families and communities that are receiving [the studies] as well. Praying for that process is so vital.”
For more information on how to contribute, visit www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/
Kayla Miller is a junior studying nursing.