Christian student organization collects gifts for Operation Christmas Child

Sara Ali, Staff Writer

The InterVarsity Christian Fellowship will be holding an event for Operation Christmas Child in Bacon 117 on Saturday, Nov. 15. The event will run from 2-6 p.m.

Rose Carpenter is the president of the SUNY Buffalo State chapter of the fellowship, which she said has organized OCC events for the past eight years. According to Carpenter, OCC is a program that began in 1990 “as a way of giving the gift of love to orphans in Romania.”

The program now serves as an international effort to provide children who ordinarily would not receive Christmas presents with holiday gifts.

“The simple act of packing a shoebox full of gifts for children has led to 61 million shoe boxes being delivered to children in need,” Carpenter said, adding that “this project extends to over 135 countries.”

Carpenter also said that all students could contribute. She said that students can “donate money, gifts for the shoe boxes and assist with packing the shoe boxes.”

Small items are the preferred donation for gifts such as toys, school supplies or hygiene products. The organization asks for contributors to avoid anything breakable, liquid, perishable or war related.

“This includes but is not limited to toothpaste, army men, anything camouflage, or glass,” Carpenter said.

According to the official website, the idea of OCC spawned when carpenter Dave Cooke from Wrexham, North Whales, and his wife Jill were watching a television broadcast about Romanian orphanages.

The website also says that “Franklin Graham, International President of Samaritan’s Purse, adopted Operation Christmas Child in 1993.”

The adoption of OCC by Samaritan’s Purse eventually evolved into “61 million shoe boxes being delivered to hurting children around the world.”

The Buffalo State chapter of the InterVarsity fellowship also has an annual Christmas party, which will take place on Dec. 5. The event is free and all students are welcome to attend.

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is made to be a place for people of all different beliefs. It is a campus-based ministry and is found across over 550 campuses. Students are invited to attend the weekly meetings called Thrive, which take place during Bengal Pause in Bulger 2E.

Students of all religious backgrounds and beliefs are encouraged to donate gifts.

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