Dec 8, 2009

Liberty and Operation Christmas Child bring joy

by James Begley

Operation Christmas Child (OCC) sends shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies and hygiene products to impoverished children in more than 100 countries. Liberty contributed 1,000 shoeboxes to the effort. Along with the shoeboxes, the children also receive a Bible printed in their language.

“As young evangelicals who have been greatly blessed with not just financial and material but truly blessed with spiritually blessings, I hope our students every year want to participate in projects like this,” Vice President of Spiritual Development Dwayne Carson said. “It gives an opportunity to give to meet physical needs, and it is great to share the Gospel with people all over the world.”

OCC has donated shoeboxes to nearly 70 million children since 1993, according to long-time volunteer Sherry McFaden. McFaden, a Liberty alumna, became a missionary in Australia when she was introduced to the cause.

“I began volunteering at the local collection center where, at the time, we received about 3,000 shoe box gifts that first year from folks in central Virginia,” McFaden said.

OCC is known as the largest Christmas project in the world. The countries that receive the shoe boxes range from Afghanistan to Timbuktu. Sometimes, these shoeboxes are the first gift that a child has ever received. But the boxes do not stop there, since the shoeboxes are always in circulation. Child victims of natural disaster can receive boxes, including the victims of Hurricane Katrina and of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, according to the BozeMan Daily Chronicle.

With extensive volunteer work, the project has spread throughout central Virginia over the last eight years, with 19,607 shoe box gifts collected this past November, according to McFaden.
The Champion office served as one drop off point for Liberty students’ boxes.

“The Champion always does this as our ministry,” Advertising Director Ben Lesley said.

Lesley emphasized that the OCC is an inexpensive way for students to get involved in overseas missions.

With the upcoming holiday events, OCC intends to deliver 8.2 million shoeboxes for 2009. McFaden will be working hard to make sure that children across the world will have a Christmas to remember.

“At the end of my life, I want to look back on my journey and know that I made a difference that my life counted,” McFaden said. “I know that packing these small shoe box gifts makes such a huge difference in the lives of these children for eternal matters and physical matters.”

Contact James Begley at

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