This year, at Activus Connect, we decided to collectively support the Samaritan’s Purse – Operation Christmas Child.
We met with Chris Ann Herron (CAH) to learn more about her experience organizing this initiative of the Samaritan’s Purse project — Operation Christmas Child.
AC: Can you tell us a bit about Operation Christmas Child? What their mission or purpose is?
CAH: Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, which is a Christian organization, whose main mission is to minister the good news of the Gospel to hard-to-reach communities, especially children, all over the world, through a simple gift of a shoebox.
After the shoeboxes were distributed to the kids and they opened the box filled with the generosity and love from the donors, they are invited to participate in the Greatest Journey of learning about the gospel. While the shoebox is not meant to replace other non-profit efforts for long-term needs such as food, water, jobs, etc. the Shoebox is meant to give hope and encouragement to the kids that despite a challenging circumstance or living conditions, someone loves them.
AC: How many years have you participated on Operation Christmas Child?
CAH: My family and I have been doing this since 2011, the first Christmas and year that my son was born. So, it has been 10 years!
AC: What motivated you to help the cause?
CAH: Halloween of 2011, I got an empty shoebox from a friend who has been helping her church collect shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse. I looked at the shoebox and said to myself there is no way I can put anything of good value in the box. I went to Target to shop to fill up the shoebox, with a friend who just recently adopted two brothers ages 5 & 7; the kids came from nothing. She brought them a pair of $1 gloves to use for the day as it was pretty cold that day. I will never forget the smile on their faces – it could light up the entire store especially after they said that they have never been given anything to keep their hands warm during the winter. I thought I would cry right in the middle of the Target dollar spot!
It does not matter what or how much you give a child. It is the gesture and the thought and the feeling of importance that is more important to the kids than what is inside the box. Especially the recipients of these boxes who comes from really poor communities. Ever since I have made it a family tradition to pack shoeboxes every year, and my 9-year-old son remembers this experience more than the presents. At church, we pack hundreds of these boxes every year and it’s the most gratifying feeling, more so than any present anyone can give me.
AC: How was your experience while working on this initiative?
CAH: My experience with this initiative has been life changing as it opened up mine and my family’s desire to give back and pay forward every year. Every year I look for different organizations or even just Individuals to help out. Even during this season of social turmoil throughout the world, there is a way to reach out to your community. And I think a Christmas shoebox is a perfect way to do it.
AC: What would you say to encourage others to join the cause?
CAH: I think at the end of the day, no matter what our life status is, everyone has something to give to make somebody feel important or cared for. Some may cost money, some may cost time and effort, some may cost just some positive thoughts and/or prayers. I believe in karma and I know that after packing such a simple inexpensive shoebox, I already got my dose of positive return the moment that I close that box and I smiled thinking that a little person thousands of miles away from me will probably have a much bigger smile than mine and a memorable Christmas this year. Try it, it can be addicting.
AC: Is there anything you’d like our readers to know?
CAH: Collectively as an Activus Connect Family, we have donated a total of 273 boxes, including the 110 boxes donated by Activus Connect. Doing this with my extended Activus Family means a lot and could be a “company tradition” that we can do every year. I encourage everyone to check the Samaritan’s Purse organization website as they do a lot of good for communities all the world. Thank you for all your generosity!