According to Dr. Jim Lo, dean of the chapel, the university decided to start receiving the boxes earlier in the semester than they have for past years. Lo hopes this will help the university reach the goal by giving more time for collection.
Students can pick up one of the small boxes from their dorm lobbies or the chapel foyer and fill it with small gifts and notes to send to underprivileged children overseas for Christmas.
According to Sue Wampner, administrative assistant to the dean of the chapel, participants can now pay the shipping fee of seven dollars online. This, she shared, also gives the donor the ability to track the package to see specifically where their gift is being sent.
Samaritan’s Purse, the creators of Operation Christmas Child, suggest including items such as toys, hygiene items, school supplies and personal notes in the boxes.
Once filled, students can bring boxes to points on campus, and those will be delivered to the chapel every few days, according to Lo.
“When the boxes come in, we want them to be displayed in the foyer area here so that students [and faculty and staff] can see the accumulation,” Lo said.
The deadline for box drop-offs is Nov. 23, according to the chapel’s community service coordinator Amy Cherry.
Kelly Clossin, the Operation Christmas Child church relations specialist for Grant County, will supervise the pickup of the filled boxes.
Once collected, she said, representatives from Grant County’s relay center will take the boxes to the center where they will be packaged into cartons. They will then go to a collection center to be loaded and shipped to the processing center in Boone, N.C.
Clossin works with approximately 50 churches in the support of Operation Christmas Child, as well as several Grant County Schools, including IWU and Taylor University.
Wampner hopes students will see supporting Operation Christmas Child as more than just an opportunity to give a gift, but as a chance to connect with God’s heart and touch the lives of children around the world.
“There is a culture that we don’t see. There are needs that we don’t see,” Wampner said. “It’s such an opportunity to just connect our hearts with God’s.”
Lo hopes students will see participating in Operation Christmas Child as “a small way of saying the world does not revolve around me.”
“I think there’s something about giving that helps us to get the focus off of ourselves and really onto a world that’s very very needy,” Lo said.
Clossin, too, is excited about the impact that this ministry brings.
“It’s a tangible way to reach children with God’s love,” Clossin said. “Every child who gets a box gets the Gospel message.”