On Thursday, Nov. 17, Drew’s Intervarsity Christian Fellowship hosted an event in conjunction with Operation Christmas Child, a yearly donation drive run by humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse.
According to the organization’s official website, “Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the Church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Operation Christmas Child, one of the organization’s many aid, relief and outreach missions, delivers gifts that are packed and sent in specially designed shoeboxes to children ages 2 to 14 living in communities in need.
In preparation for this event, Drew Intervarsity set up donation boxes around campus for people to donate necessities such as sanitary products, notebooks and pencils, as well as toys for a wide range of ages. When the date of the event arrived, Drew Intervarsity set up a table full of donations to pack into shoeboxes that would be delivered to Samaritan’s Purse.
“Last year we did put on this event and it was really successful in the amount of people that came, but we did not have this amount of donations or stuff to pack the boxes with,” said Rachel Sirica (‘24), the president of Intervarsity, about the success of this year’s event. “Organizing it this year, we tried to start a little bit early in the year. We were even talking about this in September and October. Organizing it was good, we were more prepared this year, I was really excited. Ad-hoc-ing a budget from the school was really helpful because we were able to get a lot of donations that way and we set up boxes around the school this year which was a new way to sort of get the community involved and that was really successful. I think it worked out well.”
The club also had its own liaison to Operation Christmas Child in Intervarsity member Brittany Boetticher (‘23), who has been working year-round with Operation Christmas Child ever since she stumbled across a donation box with her mother 12 years ago.
“Operation Christmas Child aims to reach all the corners of the earth and bring gifts to children,” said Boetticher, describing the mission and experience of Operation Christmas Child. “It’s a shoebox-sized gift to reach children who live in more impoverished areas. They bring these gifts to them, and once they deliver the gifts, they try to get as many children in the community as possible from ages 2 to 14. And once the children receive their gifts, they hold them until the last box is distributed and then they all open them at once. So the room is filled with screams of joy and laughter and just so much fun.”
Summarizing the importance of Operation Christmas Child on campus, Sirica said, “The goal of the event is that, in sharing with a child across the world that they are loved, people can realize that they, too, are so loved. I think on campus we can kind of forget that we’re so cared for. And even though we’re not packing these boxes for ourselves, just extending that care around Christmas and love is really important. Of course, Intervarsity believes that everyone is so loved by God, but we just want everyone on this campus to know that they are so loved and that they matter.” The event was a wonderful way to spread both kindness to others and Christmas cheer amongst ourselves here on campus, and we will likely be able to look forward to many more Operation Christmas Child drives from Intervarsity in the years to come.
Chloe Gocher is a sophomore majoring in English and minoring in Spanish.
Featured image courtesy of Chloe Gocher