“Change happens one day at a time.”
With Andrea Luxton’s closing words, the volunteers dispersed to the thirty-odd booths lined along Flag Mall. One of these booths was Operation: Christmas Child. Created by the Samaritan’s Purse and hosted by Campus Ministries, Operation: Christmas Child provides Christmas presents to children who otherwise would not receive one.
The volunteers–consisting of nine students and three Campus Ministries leaders – gathered in a classroom in Buller Hall where pre-printed red-and-green pieces of flat cardboard had been laid on the tables. The volunteers had to fold the cardboard into boxes. Then, another group of volunteers wrote cards for the kids. Finally, other volunteers took the boxes. They would package a card and gifts in the box. Gifts included tubes of toothpaste, toothbrushes, toys, and washcloths.
The volunteer team completed about eighty package boxes, gifts for eighty kids who otherwise may not have gotten a present this Christmas. According to the Samaritan’s Purse website, packages are delivered to kids in more than 100 countries. However, the presents are not the only thing received. Pastors and community leaders engage in outreach to children in at-risk areas. The children are given a Gospel story booklet, and later, their parents are invited to a “graduation” ceremony where they hear the Gospel. The impact of the students who participated in this project is much grander than simply wrapping presents. They can effectively change the lives of those eighty children and their families.
Operation: Christmas Child was only one of the many opportunities on Change Day to serve our community. Change Day itself occurs annually at Andrews University. Classes are canceled for the day in order for the overall student body and faculty to participate. Students can sign up at the Change Hub for local and even global volunteer opportunities. Change Day specifically hosts local volunteer opportunities, such as blood drives, cleaning up Silver Beach and highways, aiding in the Fitness Trail installation near the Andreasen Center of Wellness, and a prayer walk. Furthermore, Change Day provides an opportunity for students to fulfill the calling of Andrews University in the statement “Change the World.” And, most importantly, students fulfill one of God’s commandments as described in Galatians 5 KJV: “By love serve one another.”
The Student Movement is the official student newspaper of Andrews University. Opinions expressed in the Student Movement are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors, Andrews University or the Seventh-day Adventist church.