Roots Christian Club, CSF hold Operation Christmas Child from Nov. 5 to Nov. 16

Roots+Christian+Club%2C+CSF+hold+Operation+Christmas+Child+from+Nov.+5+to+Nov.+16

Anjali Bhat

MVHS clubs partner with Samaritan’s Purse to organize school’s first gift drive

This holiday season marks the start of a new gift-giving tradition at MVHS. Through collaboration with Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization, Roots Christian Club is able to bring Operation Christmas Child to the school. The program, though not the only one of its kind, supplies needy children with toys, school supplies, hygiene items and other necessities. The donations are received during an annual collection week in mid-November and distributed to children in several countries through the remainder of the holiday season. On Monday, Nov. 19, Roots members will box and send all donations from the school to Samaritan’s Purse.

Although Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian organization, according to Roots president junior Joseph Martin, this affiliation should not affect who chooses to donate.

Operation Christmas Child affects individuals worldwide as the movement has grown larger every year since it officially began in 1993. But it also carries significance at a local level within MVHS.

“As a service project, it unites our school and makes us look toward a cause, and it also spreads awareness about this to students … about the fact that there are kids who can’t afford Christmas gifts and stuff,” Martin said.

According to Martin, CSF president and Roots member senior Alice Yin became aware of the program through her involvement in Roots and wanted CSF to participate in the drive and further publicize the event at school. CSF is not heavily involved with the program’s execution but assists in spreading awareness by offering an incentive to its members.

“We wanted to do a Toys for Tots drive last year, but it wasn’t very successful … we didn’t end up doing it,” Kotesova said. “What CSF is doing this year is that we’re not really coordinating [this drive], but we’re giving points to members for turning in boxes. It’s mostly [Roots] Christian Club’s thing, but we want to support them.”

Both clubs have encouraged all students to contribute through e-mails, posts on School Loop and word of mouth. Involving another club and more students may have caused an increase in the number of donations received.

“We’ve gotten so much more than I expected,” Martin said. “It was kind of slow last week, but it’s been picking up pretty fast.”

While there has been an unexpected turnout in the amount of donations, there has been a significant imbalance in the types of donations received. The donations consist primarily of toys, but shoe boxes also need to be filled with necessities such as toothbrushes, soap, clothes, pencils or paper. Martin and Kotesova encourage donors to check that their donations comply with requirements and to offer varied contributions whenever possible.

Students can continue to donate until Nov. 16 at lunch. Donation sites have been set up in the library, main office and C106. While it is not mandatory to donate a shoe box, they will be greatly appreciated, seeing as they serve as containers for the gifts.

“There are a lot of kids that don’t get anything for Christmas, and the cool thing about [Operation Christmas Child] is that it’s not only toys that you’re donating but also school supplies and hygienic items,” Kotesova said. “I’m sure that when a child opens these shoe boxes, a smile will just light up their face. It’s just a great example of holiday spirit.”