Students Pack Gifts for Operation Christmas Child
Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) Students at Immanuel Lutheran School spent Thursday afternoon making handcrafted gifts for children in need across the world.
The items will be added to shoeboxes full of supplies and toys that are then shipped through Operation Christmas Child, an annual project of Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse. Each year, volunteers put together shoebox gifts and deliver them to drop-off locations such as churches for distribution worldwide.
Since 1993, more than 168 million shoeboxes have been delivered to over 160 countries and territories. Last year, 10.6 million shoebox gifts were shipped to 100 countries.
Immanuel Lutheran students put together fishing kits in bottles; made clothing, CD spinning tops, bows and jewelry; painted wooden cars and checkerboard pieces, and more.
“Something that they did will be given to a child who might never have received a gift before,” said organizer Laura Johnson, who got the idea for the workshop over the summer. “It’s a tangible show of love to children who don’t have anything.”
Though shoeboxes include purchased items like washcloths, soap, toys, and school supplies, handcrafting the items allows a special connection between two children in very different circumstances.
“Someone in a different country is going to play with what I made, or wear what I made,” said Principal Karen Bahn. “It’s a direct correlation between their hands and the gifts that these kids are getting.”
A practical gift like a fishing kit benefits not just the child receiving the shoebox, but their entire family as well. “The dad is able to go fishing, feed his family, and sell fish on a market and make money and income for his family,” said Johnson.
Immanuel Lutheran participates in Operation Christmas Child every year and gathers donations for a packing day. On November 13, the school will have an assembly day and pack each shoebox with gifts.
National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child is Nov. 18–25. For more information on how to pack a shoebox, visit www.samaritanspurse.org.