Christmas. A long awaited time of year that many people spend watching movies, baking cookies, sipping hot cocoa and exchanging gifts. Christmas can be an exciting and joyful time for many. For some, however, this holiday is not so easy.
Many people are not given the luxuries of being able to relax in their warm homes during the cold weather or open gifts with their families on Christmas morning. Those living in war-torn countries are often struggling to get by, and their struggle increases drastically when they realize they cannot afford Christmas presents for their friends and family.
Operation Christmas Child is an annual drive run by Samaritan’s Purse, a faith-centered humanitarian organization. Their mission is to send gift boxes to children in war-torn countries all across the world. It runs every year in November, with gifts being shipped and distributed in December.
Marian’s Faith in Action Team (FIAT) has found participating in this drive to be an excellent way to help those in need and use faith for good in the community. FIAT collected donations from students from Oct.10-31. Students brought in shoeboxes filled with different kinds of art supplies, toys, stuffed animals, hygiene items, and clothing. These boxes will then be wrapped in festive Christmas paper on Nov. 17 and taken to one of many donation locations throughout the Omaha area, where they will be inspected and shipped off to their final destinations.
Junior FIAT core team member Chizzy Okolo explains how participating in this drive is special because the destinations and recipients of the boxes are known, rather than a drive “where you don’t know where it’s going or who it’s helping.” She also described how fun it is to wrap the boxes with the FIAT group and how it is a great way to get in the Christmas spirit. Okolo expresses the importance of this drive by telling students they should “imagine the smiles on kids’ faces that [they’ll] be helping” by donating to this cause.
FIAT members also gain a lot of perspective from helping with this drive. Junior Aja Smith loves getting together with other Marian girls to wrap the boxes and listen to Christmas music. Smith explains how “knowing that the box of items that most of us would take for granted will go to someone who will really appreciate them is super special.”
Although it may seem like it is impossible to make a difference in the lives of people so far away, donating to this organization truly does leave a lasting impact because it provides children with meaningful items that will stay in their hearts forever.
While Marian’s drive for Operation Christmas Child may be over this year, students can package their own shoe box and drop it off at a number of different collection centers during the week of Nov. 14-21.
Also, students can visit samaritanspurse.org and build a box through the website for $25. Whichever donation method is chosen, Operation Christmas Child is a wonderful drive that emphasizes selflessness and helping those in need.