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The Appalachian

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Campus gathers gifts for Operation Christmas Child

Various campus organizations are getting in the holiday spirit by partnering with Samaritan’s Purse for Operation Christmas Child.

Operation Christmas Child sends shoeboxes filled with items such as school supplies, small toys, accessories and non-liquid hygiene items to children throughout various countries, said Sharon Catlin, receptionist for Operation Christmas Child at Samaritan’s Purse.

“We ask people to donate gifts in shoeboxes and send them to countries with famine, wars and those kind of things,”

Assistant men’s track coach David Ward and his wife Dawn Ward volunteer for Samaritan's Purse's Operation Christmas Child on Saturday afternoon. They held a free raffle of Appalachian gear to promote the cause. Photo by Dallas Linger  |  The Appalachian
Assistant men’s track coach David Ward and his wife Dawn Ward volunteer for Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child on Saturday afternoon. They held a free raffle of Appalachian gear to promote the cause. Photo by Dallas Linger | The Appalachian

Catlin said.

Catlin said the organization accepts shoeboxes and items all year long, however, the main collection time is running through Nov. 24.

Kendrick Dawson, President of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, said this year the fraternity is not only collecting and putting together shoeboxes, but has been reaching out to the rest of the “Appalachian family” for assistance.

Dawson said the Appalachian African Community, Chi Omega and Phi Gamma Delta have been in on the operation. Additionally, Phi Beta Sigma has a contact table for the cause in Plemmons Student Union Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“Our graduate adviser is the adviser for Operation Christmas Child at Samaritan’s Purse in Boone,” he said. “We started it in 2011 and we started off with fraternity members doing the shoeboxes, but this year we’re doing much better, and we’re reaching out to the campus.”

Michael Barton, president of the Appalachian African Community, a club open to people who are interested in or passionate about Africa, said about two weeks ago a former shoebox receiver shared his story at a Phi Beta Sigma event.

“Through hearing his personal anecdote and sharing the excitement and anticipation as he was told not to open his box until every child had received one, and then the joy of seeing the few simple gifts that filled his box, it was clear to all in attendance it wasn’t so much the gifts that make the shoe box important, but rather, the expression and sharing of love,” Barton said.

Dawson said the speaker was originally from Rwanda.

“He got a shoebox when he was a little kid and it changed his life completely, he came here and has a future,” Dawson said. “He told his story about what happened to him as a child and how he ended up in the shoebox situation.

Story: Nicole Caporaso, Senior News Reporter

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