Just before Thanksgiving vacation, about a half dozen first through seventh grade students from Abington Christian Academy (ACA) loaded twenty shoebox-sized packages into the back of a car belonging to Louise Cator, ACA’s business manager.
Some boxes were covered in colorful wrapping paper. Others were decorated in drawings and phrases such as “Merry Christmas!” or “God Loves You!” Inside the boxes were small toys, toiletry items, gloves, markers, and candy.
The boxes are headed for a local Operation Christmas Child (OCC) Drop-off Center, then to a regional office in Maryland, where the boxes will be packed up and sent overseas to children in dire circumstances in countries such as Uganda, Cambodia, and the Dominican Republic.
“We’ve participated in OCC for about seven years,” said Cator. “Each year our school community looks forward to purchasing items. And each classroom enjoys packing and decorating the boxes and writing a class letter that they send to the children who will receive the boxes.” Cator noted that the school collected chapel offerings during October to help pay the $7 shipping cost for each box.
Seth Young, of Clarks Summit, a first grade student, said he is “very happy to help kids who don’t have things.
We put stuffed animals, a bar of soap, a plastic scorpion, and magic markers in our box,” he said.
Seventh-grader Eva Rappenglueck, of Benton said the annual school-wide project is a lot of fun and it shows children around the world that someone cares for them.
“It’s something our whole class does together,” Rappenglueck said. “We’re blessed to have so much ‘stuff.’”
She also said the student body watched a video showing children in other countries opening shoe boxes that had been gathered and distributed by OCC. “It was amazing to see children from the other side of the world getting shoe boxes like the ones we packed,” she said enthusiastically. “They were so excited to receive something as simple as a bouncy ball or a toothbrush.”
Last year over 720,000 children received shoe boxes full of simple gifts. This year OCC announced that it shipped its 100 millionth box since it began its ministry in 1993.