Preparing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child has become a popular service project for Elkin High School clubs in recent years. According to their website, Samaritan’s Purse accepts more than 135 million shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child a year. Operation Christmas Child is a charity that gives back to children in need by sending donated shoeboxes full of toys, school supplies, and hygiene items around the world.
For years, the Elkin Middle School Junior Beta Club has participated in Operation Christmas Child. Madeline Morphis, president of the club, commented, “I believe that the club really wants to help put the Christmas spirit and cheer in the children that receive the boxes. By our club filling the boxes with small toys, school supplies, or even hygiene items, we are putting a smile on their faces.”
Faith, compassion and sympathy for the children inspire involvement. Being generous not only helps others, but also reciprocates joy. Area churches also participate in the program for similar reasons as the Junior Beta Club.
Justin Bell, a pastor at First Baptist Church in Elkin, told us, “I want to help because my faith tells me to love God and others. Doing the shoeboxes is a good way to love other people and provide them with a Christmas present. I’m so fortunate to have what I do, so it’s nice to help someone else who doesn’t have anything.”
Bell said, “When we send them off, I feel joy that a child will hear the gospel and get a present!”
Morphis also described the joy found in giving to the charity. “As a whole club, we are delighted that we were able to give someone happiness on Christmas. When we watched the promo video of the kids opening their packages, it really warmed my heart and probably many of the other Betas. When we send them off, I think that our club is putting that heartwarming smile on their faces.”
Whatever the motivation in giving, Operation Christmas Child brings people together in a joint effort to help those in need. Participants may donate their time and boxes for different reasons, but they are all able to help give a child a Christmas he or she will never forget.
Kaily Harris, Mackenzee Garwood, Samantha Martin, and Gentry Colbert are Elkin High School English students.