Students can participate in the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child Campaign through The University of Southern Mississippi’s Baptist Student Union until Nov. 21.
Operation Christmas Child, a national program organized by Samaritan’s Purse, sends shoeboxes filled with gifts to children in 150 countries around the world. USM’s BSU, a ministry of the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, serves as the new relay center this year for operation Christmas Child. The Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational Christian organization, offers evangelical services to the victims of war, poverty and natural disaster and collects gifts for distribution around the country.
The coordinator of the collection and junior in public relations major Tiffany Miller said the program is effective to spread the true meaning of Christmas to children all over the world.
“We are currently accepting gift boxes from Nov.14 to Nov. 21 as it’s National Collection Week,” Miller said. “Every shoebox (gift package) includes a ‘wow toy’ such as a doll, soccer ball, hygienic items, school supplies, notes and family photos. The donation of $7 is required to transport the gift box to the hands of child in need.”
Miller said this was BSU’s first year serving as the collection center for Operation Christmas Child.
“We are proud to serve as the Collection center for Operation Christmas Child,” Miller said. “It’s our first time working to collect gifts here in Southern Miss BSU.
Elementary special education major and volunteer Tiffany Ellis said the boxes are set up differently for boys and girls.
“We want to encourage the Southern Miss students and staff to donate and make the Christmas special,” Ellis said. “We will try our best to reach these boxes to the children prior Christmas though it is difficult in some part of the world. Every shoebox shares the Good News of Jesus and blesses the children with joy, hope and love. It also provides the effective outreach tool for local churches.”
Donors can choose to provide items for specific age groups (2-4, 5-9 and 10-14) for both boys and girls.
The BSU has collected more than 29 boxes from students and the athletic department. Following his or her donation, the donor is able to keep track of the gift’s location.
Miller said the BSU sends the collected packed gift boxes to church, then the church collects from the drop off locations and send these gifts to the warehouse where volunteers work to ship these gifts to overseas.
“The local churches of the respective areas distribute these Christmas gifts to the needy children to bring smile and faith in them,” Miller said. “We are thankful to our volunteers and donors for their valuable contributions. The Southern Miss BSU is hosting the Christmas party at Kris Walters’s house on Thursday, Dec. 1, and we want to welcome you all. There is bus service from BSU to Kris Walters’s house.”
For more information about Operation Christmas Child or gifts accepted by the organization visit samaritanspurse.org.