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Operation Christmas Child: How to Get Involved on Campus

Alyssa Burd
Student Writer

photo retrieved from samaritanspurse.org
photo retrieved from samaritanspurse.org

With one holiday season past, more are right around the corner! Several individuals on Messiah’s campus are already embracing the Christmas spirit, especially Kami Yuen and Jamie Armstrong of Bittner second.

This year, Yuen and Armstrong are working together to organize a dorm-wide Operation Christmas Child program.

Operation Christmas Child is a global program founded and sponsored by the Samaritan’s Purse organization. The program has become widely popular not only on college campuses, but in churches, public schools, and company offices as well.

“The way the program works, you take a shoebox and fill it with little gifts and things to be sent to kids overseas for Christmas. It really helps to teach kids about Jesus and the gospel,” shares Yuen.

“I’ve been doing Operation Christmas Child all throughout elementary and high school. I didn’t have the opportunity to participate last year while at college, so I thought it would be a great way to give back at Messiah. It’s a great way to think about others who have less than me,” says Yuen.

Yuen brought the idea to the attention of Armstrong, her R.A. in Bittner.

“As an R.A., I had the power to expand the idea [for Operation Christmas Child] throughout my floor and dorm. A lot of people think they have to go to another country to serve and do mission work. We are such a blessed culture, and packing a shoebox is such an easy way to give back and bond with others,” says Armstrong.

While Yuen and Armstrong have been promoting Operation Christmas Child primarily within the Bittner dorm, all individuals on campus are invited to participate.

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Pictured: Armstrong and Yuen (left to right)

So far, Yuen and Armstrong have collected 52 toothbrushes and several shoeboxes. To get involved, students are encouraged to donate filled shoeboxes and shoebox items.

“You can give a few things or even just a few dollars and we can fill the box for you. Between two roommates, the cost of a whole box could cost less than twenty dollars. Local churches are even giving away supplies for the boxes,” says Armstrong.

“It’s a great way for people to come together to make a difference and see the joy on kids’ faces. Just getting a little notebook or a pair of socks means a lot to them. These kids don’t get a whole lot and they get excited over the little things,” adds Yuen.

Yuen and Armstrong’s leadership on this project has certainly not gone unnoticed. Bittner’s Resident Director, Tim Ferret says, “I always welcome resident-led initiatives in the building. There is obviously a greater sense of community when residents are investing in the building, and not just our Residence Life staff. I also am continually emphasizing to my Resident Assistants the need to empower and draw out emerging leaders from their floors.”

“Our hope is that residents like Kami and many more like her will go on to be Resident Assistants, Eyas class leaders, and Student Government Association positions in coming years. We have many strong traditions in Bittner; I would like leadership development to be among them,” continues Ferret.

For more information on Operation Christmas Child or ways to get involved, contact Kami Yuen at ky1193@messiah.edu or Jamie Armstrong at ja1274@messiah.edu. All shoeboxes and donations are due by November 16th.

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