On Monday, I spent my lunchtime with a group of staff from all over the University who all had one thing in common: we are all taking part in Operation Christmas Child this year.
Organised by the Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child is the world’s largest Christmas project for children. The project calls for children and adults, individuals and groups in the UK, to donate shoeboxes filled with goodies as presents for children in disadvantaged situations who would otherwise have very little or nothing at all. Last year the project collected a staggering 1.2 million shoeboxes from UK alone.
So, that’s the background, now back to Monday! Aston’s effort has been coordinated by Sharen Lloyd (EAS) who arranged for all those who had put together a Christmas shoebox (or boxes!) to meet so that our boxes could be collected and taken to the warehouse as one collective Aston University donation. Over tea and cakes (any old excuse!), we each shared the contents of our shoeboxes and talked about our reasons for wanting to be part of the project. What struck me was not only everyone’s generosity but also their excitement (myself included) about the project. It was unanimous that everyone really enjoyed being involved with Operation Christmas Child. I have been making boxes up every year for nearly seven years. I guess my reasons for being involved are almost a little bit selfish in a way as buying the items for my shoebox and putting it together always gives me such feel good factor, as I know that these boxes really make a difference to a child’s life (even if it is only short lived).
Christmas shoeboxes contain items such as pens, paper, soap, toothpaste, toys, games and hats. So far the University has collected just over 50 boxes (including a whopping 22 from LHS organised by Kathy Dearn!) and it is likely that our Christmas shoeboxes will be sent to children in the Ukraine. If you would like to know more about the project or would like to make up a shoebox, contact Sharen Lloyd on ext 3663.
The project also needs volunteers to help sort and pack the boxes in their warehouse. You can volunteer for a day or part of a day on 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 November and 1 December. All training, risk assessments, health and safety will be covered. Volunteers can participate through the Staff Volunteering Scheme, which entitles you to two days paid volunteering leave (subject to manager’s approval) and more days with further commitment. Please contact Chantal De-Silva for more details.
Well done to everyone at Aston University who is involved with Operation Christmas Child!
Words by Louise Russell