Nov 18, 2008

Operation Christmas Child delivers hope in every size

by Megan House

Liberty students have been packing shoeboxes with dolls, toy cars, coloring books and candy for eight years to support Operation Christmas Child (OCC), which sends boxes to children across the world. OCC is a project of Samaritan’s Purse that has sent millions of shoeboxes to countries in need.

Sue Matthews, advertising director for the Liberty Champion, said she has been involved in OCC for the four and a half years that she has worked at Liberty. When she arrived, however, Liberty had already been packing shoeboxes for many years.

“This is an amazing way for Liberty students to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to needy children around the world,” Matthews said. “Together we can partner and share the good news of Jesus Christ.” 

Matthews expects to have around 300 boxes collected at Liberty.

The late Linda Groome, a professor in the school of government, started advocating OCC at Liberty eight years ago and helped make it an official function of the university, collecting more than 300 boxes each year. After her death, the Champion took the role of promoting and collecting the boxes as a service project.

“Linda had a great heart for giving. I remember her coming in after a particularly tough chemotherapy treatment to make sure there were enough boxes for students to fill,” Deborah Huff, advisor to the Champion, said. “She wanted our help in getting the word out. We continue to do this service in her honor.”

Through the years, the university has collected more than 2,400 boxes, according to Huff.

Samaritan’s Purse is expecting eight million boxes to be collected this year, according to a representative and administrative assistant for OCC. Last year, boxes were sent to more than 100 countries.

OCC has been a project of Samaritan’s Purse, founded by Franklin Graham, since 1993. OCC has sent more than 61 million shoeboxes around the world since it started the project. The purpose of the organization is to demonstrate God’s love to needy children around the world and “to share the Good News of Jesus Christ,” according to the OCC Web site.


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