For over 15 years, each holiday season, St. Anne School has worked in partnership with Samaritan’s Purse to collect shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. The boxes are distributed to St. Anne families who fill them with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items to be sent to children in need around the world. Many times, it is the first gift the child has ever received.
St. Anne families on average fill and distribute over 500 boxes each year. For the Church family, it has been a family affair for the last nine years. They usually fill and donate 20 boxes each year and everyone in the family of six gets involved; from shopping for items to writing a prayer to put in each box, it’s “all hands on deck” in the Church household. Mrs. Church describes it as, “a tradition we look forward to each year and consider it an honor to participate in with St Anne School.”
Two St. Anne sixth-grade students, Michael Geffre and Eve Manasseh, used tickets that they earned in class by answering questions correctly, looking up Bible verses, etc. to "purchase" items such as stuffed animals, Bibles, religious bracelets, crafts, toiletries, and school supplies from the classroom store to add to their OCC boxes. The caring, kindness, and compassion that these students displayed is a great model of the Christ-centered students at St. Anne School.
Peggy Pattison has been working with St. Anne School and Operation Christmas Child since 2014. Over the last six years, she and her husband Bob, have worked with the school to collect and distribute the boxes. According to Peggy, “It has been an honor to be able to assist the students and parents at St. Anne School to know the joy that comes with providing hope for these young children around the world who have so little. It’s not just a shoebox full of toys; it’s an opportunity to share the Gospel with these beautiful children and their families, and we feel blessed to be a part of it.”
Last year, St. Anne School collected over 500 filled boxes to be sent to children worldwide. Their collection added to Operation Christmas Child’s total collection of 10.5 million boxes in 2019. A former box recipient from Panama, Luis, visited the school and spoke to St. Anne Middle School students last year about the impact that receiving his box as a child had on him. He expressed how much he appreciated all the school supplies and other items in the box, but that it was the letter from the student that meant the most to him. He also shared the experiences he is now having as a representative of OCC distributing boxes himself to children in need, explaining to students how something as simple as a flashlight can make such a difference to a child who just wants to study at night without disturbing others.
St. Anne School instills in its students the importance of living a Christ-centered life, fostering personal and spiritual growth through prayer, worship, and service. Involving students in programs like Operation Christmas Child allows students to gain awareness and empathy for those in need while giving them the opportunity to give back to the local and global community.
To learn more about Operation Christmas Child visit www.operationchristmaschild.com