Tech partners with Operation Christmas Child this holiday season

The Residential Housing Association is teaming up with students, faculty and staff to engage in Operation Christmas Child. Titania Kerlegan is one of the volunteers who is assisting in the program, which has been in existence since 1993.

“I think it’s an excellent program,” Kerlegan said. “We tend to take small things for granted. And nobody should be denied the opportunity to receive a gift, especially kids.”

RHA will be collecting toys, school supplies and hygiene items from students to donate to the program, with drop-off areas in each residence hall and one in the University Center. The drop-off boxes are covered with gift wrapping and are located in the lobby of each dorm.

One requirement for donations is that each item must be able to fit in a standard size shoebox.

“We have to limit the size of the items to keep people from running out and getting something like a bike to send to the kids,” Kerlegan said. “Plus, they have to be able to fit in a shoebox so they can be delivered to them.”

The donations will be placed in shoeboxes after Nov. 15, which is the deadline for donations. They will then be taken to a local OCC drop-off location to be sent off.

In lieu of gifts, monetary donations are also accepted to help with the expense of shipping and other project costs. Gifts are distributed based on age category and gender, and the categories are broken down into groups of 2-4, 5-9 and 10-14 years.

OCC is a program that works with local churches and overseas charities to ensure that gifts from donors are delivered by hand to children who need them. The purpose is to give needy children those gifts regardless of their background or beliefs.

Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief group, is the organization in charge of OCC. OCC delivers gifts to children in more than 100 countries on six continents.

Kerlegan says that it’s another way for people to give back this holiday season.

“I watched a video of people delivering these shoeboxes last year,” Kerlegan said, “and to see those kids opening those shoeboxes just touched my heart. It’s a great way for us all to give back.”

The program is not limited to Tech students and personnel. Anybody who wishes to donate to OCC can go online to www.samaritanspurse.org/ezgive to receive more information. Donors who contribute online are also able to find out the destination of their shoeboxes.