Glen Rock gifts back with Operation Christmas Child

An organization that offers the opportunity to make the holidays special for children from the Dominican Republic to the Philippines.


Colorful shoe boxes filled with goodies ready to be donated to Operation Christmas Child. Chelsea Blind, senior, stands with the gifts she helped to collect, organize and send off to children in need.

by Michelle DeMaria, Staff Writer

On the morning of Dec. 25, a young girl will wake up especially early in her warm bed. Right away she is up and her eyes shoot open, knowing what is awaiting her.

She races toward the stairs, climbing down as fast as she can. In a matter of seconds she is in her living room and finds the dozens of boxes wrapped in shiny red paper and topped with bows that she has been waiting for all year. She tears through the presents under her lit-up tree at a rapid speed; smiling, she knows she has received everything she wished for on her list.

Operation Christmas Child is one of the many projects run by the Samaritan’s Purse International Relief Organization. This specific fundraiser collects donations during the holiday season for children in need, many of whom have never been given a gift before. Without Operation Christmas Child organizing this gift drive, many children would not have ever opened a present on Christmas.

They shared their experience with us about how in the orphanage, this box was the only gift they received on Christmas and it made them so happy.”

— Chelsea Blind

“My mom’s long time best friend who now lives in Virginia adopted two girls from the UK. They shared their experience with us about how in the orphanage, this box was the only gift they received on Christmas and it made them so happy,” Chelsea Blind (’16),who has been active in helping collect boxes in Glen Rock for Operation Christmas Child for the past two years, said.

Each child receives a shoe box that is filled with all different types of toys. Boxes are put together by the organization using the toys collected in drives, such as the one held in Glen Rock. Shoe boxes for the children can also be created online, where one can contribute a small amount of money and choose who will receive each donation by selecting an age group and gender. One can stock a box with whatever toys one would like to be included, such as a stuffed animal, a soccer ball or sunglasses. Other options include essential items that these impoverished children may need, like toothbrushes.

“My role is to set up a collection box in the Hamilton lobby, and to spread the word around the community that donations are appreciated if people are interested. I also help to sort donations into age categories, pack boxes according to ages, and transfer boxes to the church,” Blind said.

136 boxes were created using the items collected by Glen Rock. These boxes were given to the Hawthorne Gospel Church, the local Operation Christmas Child drop-off location, which is where all the toys collected in the lobby end up.

Blind’s efforts helped allow the church to put together 23,293 boxes this year alone. These boxes are distributed and received not just locally, but by less fortunate children from all over the world on Christmas. The organization has sent 124 million shoe box gifts to over 130 countries since 1993.