NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Students at Charleston Southern University (CSU) are working throughout the afternoon and late into the evening Thursday to help pack and send thousands of gifts to less fortunate children across the world.
The efforts are a part of Operation Christmas Child, a program that the university has participated in for many years.
“We really wanted to make all of (the boxes) special and we put our love and prayed over all of the boxes. It was really cool because we knew that each box was gonna be going to a kid and how greatly they would appreciate that,” said DJ Brummet, who packed 400 boxes with his friends in one night.
Stuffed animals, toy cars and playdoh are some of the gifts that are put into the boxes. But, other necessities like school supplies, hygiene products and clothes are added too.
The donations go to children ages two to 14 in countries including Rwanda, Trinidad and Tobago and the Dominican Republic.
“It’s pretty incredible to watch the reaction of a young child get a shoebox with gifts that we get all the time but they may never get,” said volunteer Laurie Diel.
Diel and the university’s Vice President of Student Life, Clark Carter, have both visited countries to see children open gift boxes from the program.
“To see the impact it makes on people is phenomenal. Not only toys and the gifts the kids get. But they get to hear about hope, they get to hear about the gospel,” said Carter.
Carter says that the shoebox can change lives since the message of the gospel comes with the gifts.
“We had a guy come yesterday whose family was killed in Rwanda. He got one of those boxes, his name was Alex, and it changed his trajectory in life. He learned to forgive the man who killed his family,” said Carter.
CSU has from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. to break their previous record of over 7,000 boxes packed in 2020.
The goal for students and faculty was to pack 10,000 boxes and that goal was exceeded with 10,924 boxes packed.
“I think it’s awesome that we exceeded our goal, but what the Lord has shown me is that it’s not so much the number. The Lord is obviously using CSU for this moment in time,” Diel said. “I think when students choose CSU as their home for four years, He’s giving them a front-row seat on the journey. It’s a time where they can choose to participate and impact the Kingdom of God.”