Lambda Delta Sigma kicked off the Christmas season by asking the Concordia community to help them in supporting Operation Christmas Child.
Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational, evangelical Christian organization that works to provide spiritual and physical aid to people around the word. Operation Christmas Child’s mission is to provide shoeboxes filled with presents to children in impoverished countries. The shoeboxes contain fun things like toys as well as hygienic items and school supplies.
Junior Brittany Davila is the co-philanthropy chair of LDS and was the one who chose to work with Operation Christmas Child this year.
Though LDS volunteers usually help within the Fargo-Moorhead community, working with Operation Christmas Child has provided opportunities to branch out on a global level.
“I chose Operation Christmas Child because of my own experience from girl scouts, even though I was eight at the time. I chose Operation Christmas Child because doing it then still impacts me today,” Davila said. “When you are eight, it is easy to loose track of all you have; it still is.”
Over the week of Nov. 14, LDS had a table set up in the Centrum where anyone in the community could drop off donations. Freshman Stephanie Hodgson, who worked the booth on Monday, collected donations with a smile.
“We have had a pretty good response so far” she said.
Items that were dropped off ranged from toothbrushes and toothpaste to notebooks. Someone even donated a bag of flashlights that required no batteries or electricity.
“The booth was an enormous help. It opened up Operation Christmas Child to the community well, and we have received a lot of donations in money and items,” Davila said.
LDS went into raising support without a clear goal in mind as to how many shoe boxes they wanted to pack.
“We went into it with the mind-set to give as much as you can, and that was the goal, to make as many boxes as possible” Davila said, though she also commented that the generosity of the community has surpassed her expectations.
Recently the members of LDS met up to sort through the donations and place them in shoe boxes as well as write letters to the shoe box recipients. They were able to put together 26 shoe boxes and raised $240.24 that will go towards box delivery costs and to Samaritan’s Purse.
Triumph Brethren Lutheran Church was LDS’s drop-off location, and the church busily collected shoeboxes coming in all week.
“It’s going really well and has been absolutely fantastic; lots of volunteers have come to help out” said Pastor Kirk Miller, who is in charge of delivering the shoeboxes to their final location from where they are then shipped abroad.
The church has collected 72,000 shoeboxes from the community, largely surpassing their goal of 12,000. These boxes will contribute to the overall 8.2 million shoeboxes collected world-wide.
The shoeboxes collected by Triumph Brethren Lutheran Church and LDS will be shipped primarily to Zambia and India locations.
“Part of the fun of making a shoebox is not knowing where it will go,” Davila said.
She and the members of LDS included personal letters and addresses in their boxes in hope of adding a personal touch to the gifts and with the chance of receiving a letter back. They also plan to track the shoeboxes to their locations via the Samaritan’s Purse’s website.
“Operation Christmas Child is so important because it brings joy to impoverished children and makes them feel the way they should feel on Christmas,” Davila said, “and this is something we could not have achieved without the help, aid and compassion of the Concordia community.”