Operation Christmas Child brings gifts to children in need

MOUNT PLEASANT — Parishioners of Christ Our King Church and students from Christ Our King-Stella Maris School donated 557 gift-filled shoeboxes to Operation Christmas Child, which sends gifts to children  worldwide.

OCC is an international Christian relief project that brings gifts to children suffering from war, poverty, disease and natural disaster. Franklin Graham, eldest son of evangelical preacher Billy Graham, is the head of the association.

With the blessings of Msgr. James T. Carter, pastor of Christ Our King Church, various groups such as the Kings of Columbus, young adults, seniors, Christian formation and the entire school participated in the collection of items for the shoe boxes and 1,000 grocery bags, donated by Publix. The bags were distributed by the young adult group at each Mass and returned the following weekend filled with the listed items.

Sue Dowd, director of development at Christ Our King/Stella Maris School, coordinated the age appropriate items from each classroom. The pre-kindergarten classes donated crayons; first-graders donated balls and fifth-graders donated hair clips and combs. This was part of a program at Christ Our King-Stella Maris School as a tangible way for children to help other children.

Sharon Willis’s CCD classes included drawings of the students and their homes reaching out to the other children with words of encouragement as well as donating age appropriate items mirroring the students at the school.

At the shoe box stuffing party, several students who were adopted from Russia said they were “glad to help because the kids getting these boxes could have been us.”

Submitted by Kathy Durham.

To learn more about Operation Christmas Child, visit www.samaritans purse.org/OCC_Index.asp.