With the commencement of the holiday season, it is easy to get lost in the chaos of holiday shopping and the busyness that the end of the year brings. However, this is the perfect time for gratitude and extending a hand to those in need. Operation Christmas Child (OCC), a project sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse, does just that.
This project gives children an opportunity of a Christmas for those who may not be as fortunate. According to Samaritan’s Purse’s official website, since their origination in 1993, OCC has collected and delivered more than 124 million shoe boxes to children in over 150 countries and territories. They have over 4,000 drop-off sites in all of the 50 states and Puerto Rico.
Since 2012, Travel Advantage Network, a vacation accommodations program, has dedicated its charitable efforts to Operation Christmas Child in the month of November as it is sponsored by Lauren Lombard, Corporate Trainer.
“I chose to host Operation Christmas Child because it allows us to give to children around the world who don’t necessarily have toys, hygiene products or school supplies,” Lombard said. “In many cases, the shoebox is their only Christmas. The charity is very personal in that what you pack in your shoebox will be opened and loved by a little boy or girl somewhere in this world. Being able to give that kind of joy is priceless. ”
Last year, Travel Advantage Network donated 131 boxes to Operation Christmas Child. This year, our goal was 150 boxes, which is more than we have collected in the past years. We donated that and more, donating 204 boxes!
“That is 204 boys and girls who will have the joy of receiving a box of gifts due to the efforts of the employees at Travel Advantage Network,” Lombard said.
The process is simple, but the outcome is priceless. Grab a shoebox, select the age and gender of the child you are giving to, and fill the box with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, and more. Employees at Travel Advantage Network were given two weeks to prepare and finish their boxes.
“My favorite part this year was the overwhelming response,” Lombard said. “Everyone joined in, even having competition amongst some department leaders. I couldn’t have asked for a better, more successful year!”
Lauren is already signed up to host next year’s November charity, choosing Operation Christmas Child for the fifth consecutive year. To find out more information about Operation Christmas Child or to get involved yourself, visit the official website here.