Three New England Public School seniors, along with the help of other students, are about to spread some holiday cheer to more than 30 children located all over the World.
Allie Kuske, Hallie Peterson, and Linzee Volk, seniors in Shannay Witte’s Family and Consumer Science class, asked the rest of the student body at New England Public School for help to participate in Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse which aids in International Relief.
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to people in need all over the world. Samaritan’s Purse has aided hurting people around the world that have either been victims of war, natural disasters, poverty, disease or famine. Since 1993, Samaritan’s Purse has collected and delivered more than 124 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 150 countries and territories through Operation Christmas Child.
Every year for the FACS (Family and Consumer Science) class, Witte chooses some kind of service project for her students. In previous years her students have participated in a teddy bear share for kids in Iraq. Another year her students went around to all the elementary classrooms at New England Public School to teach the students proper hand washing techniques.
“I always try to have my FACS students do some kind of service project that is outside of the curriculum that helps other people,” Witte said.
Witte came up with this year’s service project after reading an article in the Dickinson Press about Operation Christmas Child, and how St. John’s Lutheran Church in Dickinson was going to be a collection site for the gifts that were collected. Also, Witte knows of someone from her church that has participated in Operation Christmas every Christmas for a number of years.
The three FACS students, along with Witte, went around to each classroom at the school, explaining what Operation Christmas Child was all about. The students, if they chose to participate, had a week to make up their own shoebox present.
Each present was to include a “wow” toy such as a doll, stuffed animal or ball with a pump. They could also include other fun toys, hygiene items, and school supplies. After the items were packed, you could wrap or decorate your shoebox. The outside each box needed to be marked if the present was for a boy or a girl and also marked by the age of the child from two years old to 14 years old. The kids could also give their names and write something about themselves in hopes to maybe hear back from the child that received their gift.
Witte is hoping that maybe some of the students may have some correspondence from the gifts that they have sent.
“If you go to the Samaritan’s Purse website, and if you read some of the testimonials where they’re just ecstatic that they got a washcloth, they have never had a washcloth before. We take all that for granted. (Items like) socks, Kleenex, toothbrushes. They are just ecstatic because they have never had the opportunity to have basic hygiene stuff that we take for granted,” Witte said.
On Nov. 19, the FACS students collected roughly 38 shoeboxes to be taken up to Dickinson, to be dropped off at St. John’s. They will then be shipped all over the world in time for Christmas.
“It felt good to help other people,” Linzee Volk said.