This year, Orange Lutheran High School turns 40, and the school has decided to celebrate the milestone with a “40 Days of Giving” service campaign. One of the main projects of this two-month project is Operation Christmas Child, the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind. Last year, the students packed and sent 2,300 gift-filled shoe boxes; this year the school has doubled that number to 5,000 shoe box gifts that will be collected and sent to needy children around the world.

On Sunday, Nov. 4, students volunteering their time will gather after school hours at the Orange Lutheran High School gymnasium with the goal to pack 1,000 shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. The gymnasium will be transformed into a Christmas workshop filled with assembly lines as participants shop the tables for items to place in their shoe box gifts. This packing party is open to the community, families, groups and children to help spread this simple project beyond the school room.

With the support of Orange Lutheran, Operation Christmas Child plans to hand-deliver gift-filled shoe boxes to more than 9 million needy children experiencing war, natural disaster, poverty, terrorism or disease in more than 100 countries. The project uses the power of a simple gift box filled with hygiene items, toys and school supplies to share a message of hope with suffering children. Operation Christmas Child anticipates reaching a milestone this year—collecting and delivering shoe box gifts to more than 100 million children since the project began in 1993.

“This is a great opportunity we have found to invite the community on to our campus to get involved in a project that helps children and reaches around the world,” said Kim Hahn, a freshman theology teacher and Operation Christmas Child project coordinator at Orange Lutheran.
In preparing for this packing party, not only has the whole student body contributed, but members of the community have also stepped up and assisted in this huge effort.

“We have seen incredible support from local donors and businesses who have stepped in to make this event a success,” explains Hahn. Already they have received huge donations; 5,000 bars of soap and toothbrushes, 800 soccer balls, 150,000 sheets of paper and more than 2,700 jump ropes are just a few of the materials gathered.

However, students will not stop after this event; they plan to collect supplies, raise money and pack 4,000 more shoe boxes before the project’s National Collection Week starting Nov. 12. This shoebox project has become heavily integrated into daily student life. In the cafeteria, for every licorice rope purchased, two jump ropes are bought for the shoe boxes. Similarly, when sports game attendees bring a pair of socks for shoe boxes to a home game, they will get $1 off entry.

For more information about how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 714.432.7030 or visit National Collection Week for gift-filled shoeboxes is Nov. 14-21. Shoebox gifts are collected all year at Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, North Carolina.

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