It all starts with one shoe box and a group of students with some Christmas spirit! In recent years, Fellowship of Christian Athletes or FCA, have participated in Operation Christmas Child, or OCC where they try to provide and give those who are less fortunate a happier Christmas.
Operation Christmas Child is a project done by Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian based international organization, to help children who are affected by disaster, disease, poverty, etc., by sending shoe boxes filled with supplies gathered by the community and peers.
The project prepares one single shoe box filled with small toys, hygiene items, school supplies and encouraging notes and words of the love Jesus Christ has for them.
“I believe we chose to participate in OCC, one because we are a Christian based organization and we obligate ourselves to try to help children in need. Secondly, it helps not only the members of FCA but LHS students realize that there are kids out there who do not get the opportunity to get nice things that we receive here in the Untied States, which really opens up our eyes as a whole,” said junior Emma Biddle.
Two weeks ago, members of FCA were given the task to help spread awareness and get students at Lebanon High School involved with OCC by either donating money, shoe boxes or toys they might have lying around their house.
The week of November 13-17th, FCA members ran a donation booth and encouraged LHS students to help donate in impacting one child Christmas. At the end of the week, they raised around $80 for OCC, which payed for 8 ½ boxes.
The morning of Friday November 17th, members gathered and wrapped each shoe box which each member was asked to gather items specific towards a certain gender and age group.
“The week before we wrapped gifts, during FCA we watched a video clip about OCC and it brought tears to my eyes seeing how happy the children were to receive a gift. So I enjoyed wrapping the gifts the most because the whole time I was wrapping, I was thinking about how the little gift meant the world to a child,” said senior Lizzie Messenger.
Later, when the shoe boxes are complete, they are then sent to Operation Christmas Child drop off locations, for the shoe boxes to be wrapped a second time. OCC then sends and ships these custom boxes to many different countries around the world where they distribute the gifts among the children in their village.
“I plan to continue OCC through FCA because I feel like it is a fun opportunity to give back to those who truly need it. It is motivating to see how much a Christmas box can impact a child. My biggest suggestion for next year is to plan ahead. Save the shoe box you get when you purchase a pair of shoes, when you go shopping, gather little things that you could contribute to OCC. We have to encourage ourselves and others to participate. It is about the effort,” said English teacher Rachel Becker.
Each year, National Collection Week for the shoe boxes take place every third week in November in order for the packages to arrive on time for Christmas. Although the deadline has already past, OCC will continue to accept boxes year-round. With Operation Christmas Child at a wrap for this year, be sure to get involved with FCA with meetings every Friday morning at 7:15 in the community room one.