Operation Christmas Child looking for bigger numbers

Thu, 2008-11-13 09:17 -- univcomm
November 13, 2008

Last Christmas season, AU donated 291 shoeboxes to the Operation Christmas Child foundation. This year, AU has increased that number and is hoping to donate 504 boxes collectively as a campus.

Sophomore Kelsey Kegerreis explained the new prediction.

“During one of our meetings, the group agreed that our goal should be for 24 percent of the undergraduate population of AU to each donate a shoebox,” said Kegerreis. Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, is a worldwide production that has been a way to not only get AU to work together, but has also engaged the campus with other Indiana campuses.

Between Taylor University, Indiana Wesleyan University and AU, 791 boxes were donated to the annual project last year. AU contributed 291 of those boxes, while IWU, a relatively smaller school, donated 515 boxes. But Operation Christmas Child is not a one-way volunteer program—those who volunteer have often felt and seen a difference in themselves.

Sophomore Joanna Tilley is starting her 11th year as a volunteer to the project. She has been able to attend a shoebox delivery trip to Belize and has received over 80 letters from children who have received her boxes.

“This seemingly simple shoebox project is an incredible opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ with children who are orphaned, starving, sick and often abandoned by everyone else they know,” said Tilley.

SGA advisor Debbie Sebastian is starting her second year with the program and continues to be “impressed with the dedication and passion that several students have with the program.”

Along with Tilley, Kegerreis has also been involved with this project since she was young. “My siblings and I would always would go to the store with my mom and help pack a few shoeboxes,” Kegerreis explained. “As I grew older, I began saving my own money and making Operation Christmas Child my own project each year. The small amount of money that I invest in a shoebox each year is minimal compared to the difference it is making in someone else’s life.”

The drop-off date for the boxes is Nov. 3-14, in the SGA office, the bottom of Decker from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and in the dorm and apartment lobbies. Most boxes donated include small items such as marbles, dolls, cars, stuffed animals, jump ropes and yo-yos. Hygiene products are also donated, since those items are often times scarce in the receiving countries. Small clothing items—such as a t-shirt, scarf, hat or a pair of mittens are accepted as well.

The monetary donation to this project is minimal, but it is about much more than that.

—Julia Cline is a reporter for the on campus newspaper Andersonian. Story republished with permission.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,750 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2008, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the fourth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.