Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child (OCC) Update

As I write this we are celebrating the success of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes. It’s been wonderful to come together as a nation to enjoy the achievements of our athletes; and also to take pride in the way in which all of the events have been planned and executed.

The success of the games has ultimately depended on each person involved playing their role, from the top athletes to the many volunteers – the Games Makers. We can’t all be gold medallists but we can all do our part in making a difference to our community and our world, we can all be “Difference Makers”. That’s what we do at OCC – we make a difference to the lives of children. These children may be orphaned, diseased, homeless, traumatised by war, and /or living in poverty; they are the last, the least, and the lost. A shoebox filled with gifts can make an enormous difference to the child who receives it – each box brings joy and each box brings the love of the person who packed it. The shoebox itself will not solve the material problems that the child endures, but it brings hope to the child and to others in the community.

Last year the generous people of Wirral wrapped, packed and donated 11,283 shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. That’s 11,283 happy children in Romania for whom Christmas was a time of real joy! This year we have a new challenge as for the first time ever about half of our boxes will go to Swaziland. A landlocked South African country which around 1.2 million people call home, Swaziland is a nation that has in recent years become synonymous with two words: HIV and Poverty. The rate of HIV is staggering; it is the highest of any country in the world, with 26% of the adult population HIV positive. The poverty statistics don’t make much better reading, 63% of the population live below the poverty line, surviving on less than £1 a day. It may seem impossible that we can do anything about such conditions but we can! Speaking at the Samaritan’s Purse conference earlier in the year Wandy Shongwe from Swaziland said of shoebox distributions “When in life is it ever solely about the children? There are traumas we can go through as children that stay with us through life and can manifest in adulthood. What about when a child receives a shoebox? Finally it is all about them! There is such anticipation and joy when a child gets a shoebox. Children are often so excited that they go off in private to open their box. The whole experience is positive and will impact them later in life. A shoebox can transform the rest of a child’s life. Who knows what the potential of a box is?”

This year the OCC video is entitled “From One Community to Another” – do you want to become part of this global community? Do you want to be a Difference Maker? Through OCC you can impact the live of one child; you can reach out and make a difference. The motto of the London Olympics & Paralympics is “Inspire a generation; do you want to be part of a global community is truly inspiring a generation?

If you haven’t already done so, now is the ideal time to start collecting items to fill a box (including greatly cut-price Olympic/Paralympic goodies). If you have a school-aged child can I encourage you to ask if the school will be “doing boxes” this year? Often the first that parents hear about the campaign is when they find the OCC leaflet crumpled up in the bottom of their child’s school bag during the Autumn half-term.

Do you want to know more? Please contact our Area Coordinator, Margaret on 07708037969. You can also leave a comment or question on our “Wirral OCC” Facebook page. We are always happy to answer questions and we have trained CRB-checked speakers who are more than happy to speak to groups, small or large, about OCC. Please get in touch!

Patricia Hardman