Operation Christmas Child: A Disappointing Year


Operation Christmas Child was Faith Lutheran’s charity of the month for the month of October. This program is operated and run through Samaritan’s Purse and provides spiritual and physical aid to those hurting around the world by sharing God’s love to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Samaritan’s Purse is an organization that helps struggling people in third world countries. They offer hope to those struggling through the good news of Jesus Christ. As well as Operation Christmas Child, Samaritan’s Purse responds when a crisis strikes by deploying Disaster Assistance Response Teams to the country in need. These teams provide people with food, water, medicine, shelter, and other needed supplies. In addition to this, Samaritan’s Purse also helps give wounded veterans and their families spiritual refreshment. Some other programs Samaritan’s Purse are in charge of include World Medical Mission, Children’s Heart Project, The Greta Home and Academy, and many more.  

This year Faith Lutheran students, faculty, and teachers donated and collected approximately 432 boxes in total. Many people chose to pack a shoebox gift to bless children each year. Like Faith Lutheran, churches and other groups also collect boxes in their community. Thousands of volunteers serve by preparing the boxes for shipping. Before the boxes arrive in each country, leadership teams help to train pastors and other leaders who want to share the Gospel to these children. These pastors invite leaders in other countries to know and follow Christ, in hopes that the joy of Jesus will spread throughout the developing countries.

“The week of November 18th we take [the boxes collected at Faith Lutheran] to a local church that acts as a shipping center and from there, they go to headquarters to be inspected and then are sent to many different countries,” Mrs. Bowline said. 

Packing a box is a simple process. All someone needs to do is find a shoebox, fill it with gifts and items for a child, and donate nine dollars online to receive a tracking label in order to follow their box to its end location. But the most important thing someone can do for the child is pray over them and their family. Praying for the children who will receive a box, praying for the children who don’t, and praying for the spiritual leaders such as the pastors who are sharing God’s Word in other countries is an important step in spreading the Gospel to these countries.

Many Faith Lutheran students donated to this cause for different reasons. 

“I have donated to Operation Christmas Child this year, and I donate to give back to kids who don’t have as much [as we do] and to put smiles on [these children’s] faces,” Aly Thompson. 

Students at Faith Lutheran realize how blessed they are and enjoy giving back to those in need. These students also enjoy filling their boxes with fun items for the child receiving their box. Some items recommended to put in the box are a stuffed animal, comb, bar of soap, or a coloring book. Samaritan’s Purse asks people to not include candy, toothpaste, food items, or anything breakable in their box. 

Laynie Milohnic said, “This year I donated a box to Operation Christmas Child because I have done it since I was in sixth grade and love blessing those who are not as fortunate as I am. My favorite thing about donating a box is filling the box with awesome toys and crafts for the kids.” 

Some students are surprised at the small amount of boxes donated. The school wide goal was 1,000 boxes, and if the goal was met, the school would get a free dress day as a reward. This year, not even half the goal was collected. This leaves many students and faculty disappointed in the lack of participation from others. After the chapel announcements, posters in the hallway, and emails in Daily Announcements most students knew about the box collection weeks in advance.

Laynie Milohnic said, “I am surprised that there were only about 400 boxes donated. I thought more of the Faith Lutheran [community] would’ve participated in this, especially because it is going to such a good cause.”

Those students who donated enjoy knowing what country their box has arrived in. 

“After Christmas anyone who used a tracking label on their box will get a email anywhere from the end of January to beginning of February with the name of the country their box is in,” Mrs. Bowline said, “There will also be a map in the hallway to see how many countries we blessed.” 

If you haven’t donated a box this year, it is not too late. To learn more about Operation Christmas Child, visit the website below. Once you are on the website you can click on the “What We Do” tab to learn more about the many organizations operated through Samaritan’s Purse that provide help and spiritual guidance all around the world. 

Operation Christmas Child®