L to R: Rachel Sommer, Andrea Martin and Erika Green

Last year eight million children in more than 130 countries received shoe boxes full of gifts through the Operation Christmas Child project, which is organized through an international relief foundation called Samaritan’s Purse. This year, many Bethel students, faculty and staff had a chance to fill shoe boxes full of toys and various essential items, including a monetary donation. All the boxes were brought to chapel and dropped off on Nov. 17.

Erika Green (’13), Andrea Martin (’13), Rachel Sommer (’13) and Julie Reichenbach (’13) decided to put a box together for a 10- to 14-year-old boy.

“I love to do Operation Christmas Child because I really enjoy working with kids, and this ministry directly impacts children all over the world. When I think of children who hardly ever have toys to play with or even things I take for granted like toothpaste, it motivates me to fill a box since what is in that box may be the only presents they receive all year,” says Green.

Their Christmas box included school supplies, hygiene items, toys and candy.

“We tried to pack the box as full as we could!” says Green.

It’s hard to imagine that there are kids in the world that won’t receive any special gifts on Christmas. This is why Green and her friends decided to participate in the project this year.

“I think this is a wonderful ministry that any individual or group can do. It’s a great project for youth groups, families or classrooms. I feel like I have so much compared to almost all other kids in the world. Whenever I pack a box, I know that somewhere, my box will bring joy to a child. Not only is it fun to choose the gifts and try to fit them all into a shoebox,” says Green. “But also, I know that my box may change a child’s life.”