by Abby Totten, Student Public Relations Writer
‘Tis the season for gifts – but nothing can quite compare to opening a gift, maybe for the first time, from someone halfway across the world.
Each November, the Operation Christmas Child student organization at Cedarville University seeks to pack 1,000 shoeboxes filled with gifts and necessities for children overseas. This ministry, based out of Samaritan's Purse, has reached over 198 million children in more than 170 countries and territories since 1993.
While Operation Christmas Child began 29 years ago, Cedarville’s student organization started just seven years ago and initiates various projects to help raise funds to purchase gifts for the children who will receive the shoeboxes.
Sarah Brubaker, a senior intercultural studies major from Colorado Springs, Colorado, is a co-president of the student organization. In her role, she creates plans that she believes will brighten the lives of children who receive a Christmas shoebox. “I’ve been participating in Operation Christmas Child through my church,” said Brubaker. “Participating with Operation Christmas Child is very meaningful to me, especially when I hear testimonials from kids who have received the boxes and how the gifts impacted them.”
Seeing this impact has continued her involvement with Operation Christmas Child at Cedarville.
In mid-November, more than 50 students spent the evening helping at the annual packing party on campus. Boxes were filled with notebooks, pencils, toothbrushes, clothing items, toys and notes – handwritten by Cedarville students.
Once all the shoeboxes are packed, they are shipped to Charlotte, North Carolina, where there is an Operation Christmas Child processing center. Volunteers at this location inspect gifts, organize shoeboxes by age and gender and prepare them to be sent overseas. They also place pamphlets that present the meaning of Christmas in each shoebox for a child to receive.
“Knowing that each one of these boxes is a gospel presentation for these kids is what drives it,” said Brubaker. “The things themselves might be helpful, but it’s ultimately the message of the gospel that’s going out and the pamphlets that they add to the boxes that make a really big difference.”
For the Cedarville students, Operation Christmas Child is a great opportunity to be a part of helping change a child’s life.
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 5,082 undergraduate, graduate, and dual enrolled high school students in more than 175 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, high graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and the #4 national ranking by the Wall Street Journal for student engagement. For more information about the University, visit www.cedarville.edu.