Hearts pound with anticipation when children receive their rectangular cardboard box; smiles instantly light up their faces. This is the moment they have been waiting for all year.
Operation Christmas Child is a ministry project part of the Samaritan’s Purse International Relief Organization. Over the past decade the project has collaborated with local churches and organizations to bring gifts wrapped inside shoeboxes as well as share the gospel of Jesus Christ to children in more than130 countries.
California Baptist University is no stranger to the life-changing project.
This year CBU will host a Pre-Packing Party on Nov. 13 from 3-6 p.m. in Innovator’s Auditorium and a Packing Party the following night, Nov. 14, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Recreation Center.
The Pre-Packing Party is where donated items are sorted, double-bagged and folded in order for the Packing Party to go smoothly in an assembly line fashion. Items include hygiene products, school supplies, clothes, toys and hard candy.
Julie Dobbins, assistant director of chapel and compassion ministries, said attending the Pre-Packing Party is a great opportunity for volunteers who like the behind-the-scenes work, as well as for those who cannot afford to donate materials.
“To pack a whole box can be more expensive and students don’t always have the financial resources to pack a whole box, but they have the time to come and donate something,” Dobbins said.
The Packing Party is where students, staff, faculty and their families pack, wrap, pray and, if they want to, pay to ship the packages. During this time they listen to Christmas carols, snack on cookies and fellowship with one another.
Victor Popa, graduate assistant for the Office of
Spiritual Life, received shoe boxes for three years while in an orphanage in his home country of Romania.
“It meant a lot to me that someone cared and brought that little gift,” Popa said. “It’s nice to see that CBU is doing this.
Gifts are always nice, especially when it comes at such a time as Christmas with children that are neglected and rejected by the society. It meant to me that people had not forgotten about me.”