by Heather Burdges and Faythe Baxter, Student Boosters small group
We had a large group take advantage of the opportunity given to us to volunteer at the Operation Christmas Child Warehouse in Denver. This is one of nine facilities in the United States. This organization’s goal is to tell people of the good news of Jesus and to point people towards God. The nine facilities in United States send out approximately 8.6 million shoeboxes every year. The Denver facility proposed a goal to send out 800,000 shoeboxes around Christmas in 2015.
While some who had volunteered before were excited to again participate in this activity, those who had not partaken before saw the excitement of others with experience and were encouraged by the positive atmosphere walking into the warehouse. “It was a good experience; it really put things into perspective for me. We take our Christmas and gifts that we get for granted and forget about how fortunate we are especially around Christmas time,” Tori McManamay (9th) said.
Some of the roles that we played at the OCC warehouse included a pre-inspector, an inspector, a taper, a scanner, and a “cartonizer.” The pre-inspector would look through the box for donations for shipping to the organization, the inspector would examine the box for any items such as liquids, foods, or anything that could ruin the box or put the child in danger. Next the taper would tape the box shut to seal it, and they would give it to the scanner if it had a bar code on it in order for the family to track their box in order to see what country their shoebox traveled to. Lastly, the “cartonizer” would pack the shoeboxes into a box to be shipped. “It was a good experience because I got to take part in bringing joy to children around the world. I got the opportunity to be the scanner of my station. Scanning allows you to keep track of the boxes so that we make sure to know where the boxes go. As the scanner, I held the responsibility that every box was accounted for so that the people who donated the extra money for tracking can have peace of mind when they see where their shoeboxes were delivered,” said Tanner Culp (12th). In the midst of the work, everyone in the warehouse would stop for a minute to pray over the boxes and to be reminded of how much of an impact we are making on many children.
All of the students and staff had a great time packing the boxes for the children and all had a great attitude, even after a four hour shift. It was certainly difficult to stay standing for that long period of time, but everyone had a great time and couldn’t believe that four hours had passed by so quickly. The thought of a child’s face first opening that gift kept us working hard to get as much done in the time we were given. We hope to have another opportunity to volunteer at Operation Christmas Child again in the future.