Pack a shoebox, spread holiday cheer

By Emily Williams, Contributing writer

National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child is Nov. 14 – 21, and many Murray State students, faculty and staff are participating by donating boxes filled with basic necessities and children’s toys to Samaritan’s Purse.

According to their website, Samaritan’s Purse is an evangelical Christian humanitarian aid organization that provides relief to people in physical need as a key part of Christian missionary work.

Jonathan Clark, campus minister at Murray State’s Baptist Campus Ministry, said a grand total of 2,394 boxes were donated last year during National Collection Week in Murray, with a total of 38 volunteers and 261.5 volunteer hours logged.

Clark said the Murray State BCM is the only drop-off location for Operation Christmas Child in Murray.Beth Acreman, education abroad coordinator at Murray State, said the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program will continue to participate in Operation Christmas Child this year by collecting items during their Thanksgiving meal on Nov. 19.

Acreman said the program has three cohorts now and their goal is to increase the number of boxes that they put together this year.

“We’ve decided to do both boys and girls this year, and there are three sets of age ranges,” Acreman said. “There will be boxes for 2 to 4, 5 to 9 and 10 to 14-year-olds, depending on what gender and age group you would like to fill a box for.”

Acreman said they will also be accepting donations that will go toward buying items to put in the boxes and covering the expense of sending the boxes out, which is $7.

“We like doing this just to be a part of it,” Acreman said. “The Ed.D. is about community leadership so this is a small way for us to combine as a group and do something that will help, maybe not our community directly, but communities across the world.”

Hannah Wilson, junior from Murray, said her community group at the BCM is participating in Operation Christmas Child by packing a box for a boy between the ages of 10 and 14 and including a picture of their group as a whole.

“We’re participating because it is a great opportunity to help others and give a child in a different country joy,” Wilson said. “Samaritan’s Purse is a fantastic organization who helps others by sharing the Gospel with them and that is what OCC does.”

Wilson said she had the opportunity to hand out shoeboxes with items inside in Haiti last year with a group of college students. She said personally seeing the needs of the kids, to know we can help them and to see the joy that comes from something as a simple as a shoebox, is indescribable.

“It’s an inexpensive way to contribute, and I know that’s important to college students,” Wilson said. “Knowing you can make a difference in someone’s life by giving them a bar of soap, a toothbrush and toy is so cool. And you get to help spread the love of Jesus with people, which is so much fun.”

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Photos by Jenny Rohl/The News