More than 800 Lee University students, staff and faculty gathered Wednesday to pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, a service opportunity provided through Samaritan’s Purse.
During the event, sponsored by Lee’s First-Year Programs, a total of 3,034 shoeboxes were filled. Students are also given the opportunity to turn in their own boxes to the Student Development Office to be added to those packed on Wednesday.
“We are so proud of the energy that our students, faculty, and peer leaders have given to this project,” said Rochelle Mayberry, assistant director of First-Year Programs. “Each year, they take on the challenge to pack boxes and impact the lives of kids around the world.”
This year’s event was labeled the “#PackNStack Party” in order to reach out to students through social media. Students are sharing stories and pictures of their experiences via Twitter and Instagram.
Oksana Nelson, a spokesperson for OCC, spoke at Wednesday’s #PackNStack party on her life as an orphan in Russia and the impact it made on her to receive an OCC box at the age of nine.
“Looking back, I recognize that the items in the box were simple, but I never thought I would have that many things of my own,” said Ms. Nelson. “I received a shoebox as a hopeless little girl, and it changed my life forever. The more boxes we can pack and collect, the more children we can reach.”
Lee’s Office of Student Development and Student Leadership Council have led the on campus packing efforts since 1998, providing over 20,000 shoeboxes to date.
“As a Christ-centered institution, Lee desires to show how the life of the mind is directly related to a life of service,” said Dr. Eric Moyen, director of First-Year Programs. “With that distinctive, our office is intentional about showing Lee's freshmen students practical ways to impact the lives of others around the world, and Operation Christmas Child does just that.”
Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Lee students gather to pack shoe boxes Wednesday evening for Operation Christmas Child. Pictured here in a Santa suit is freshman McKayla Kimbrough, right, with Elizabeth Brooks, also a freshmen. Also pictured are (left to right) freshmen Rachel Colitz, Camille Conway, and Amy Marona. (Photos taken by Kendall Lane)