For five years running, children and teachers at St. Peter-Immanuel Lutheran School in Decatur, Indiana, have packed shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. This year, they kept up the tradition, participating in this global outreach through Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. On a bright November morning, children at St. Peter-Immanuel Lutheran School gathered in their chapel family groups to load shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items.
“Through Operation Christmas Child,” says Lindsey Irwin, teacher, “volunteers fill shoeboxes with gifts for children around the world. Many of these children have very little to call their own, and the shoebox will be the first gift they have ever received.” In 2017 alone, Operation Christmas Child collected enough shoebox gifts to reach up to 12 million children around the world, and St. Peter-Immanuel Lutheran School was proud to be a part of it!
This year, thanks to donations from parents and congregation members, the 54 students in grades preschool–8th grade were able to pack 34 boxes with toys and goodies. “The kids are so excited to participate in this outreach for these children,” says Lindsey. “They love to bring in donations and pack them. Our teachers all get involved, too. Everyone works hard to make the boxes extra special.” In addition to the gifts, each chapel family sends pictures and writes special notes to the children who will receive the boxes.
“Operation Christmas Child is a great opportunity to share God’s Word with families and children who haven’t heard that good news,” says Lindsey. “Our hope is that these boxes will put these children on a journey to becoming part of God’s family.”
In addition to the boxes, St. Peter-Immanuel Lutheran School donates their first quarter chapel offerings to help cover the cost of purchasing some supplies and for shipping the boxes around the world. “We usually give our quarterly offerings to different causes and organizations throughout the year,” says Lindsey, “but we keep this first-quarter offering consistent, since the children love the project so much.”
It’s just one more way that our Lutheran schools are making a difference, not just in their local communities, but around the world as well. “The spirit of giving is something our schools try to instill in all of our students,” says Amy Mews, assistant to Christian education. Thank you, St. Peter-Immanuel!
More About Operation Christmas Child
The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to children in need around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 146 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 150 countries and territories around the world.