By Chris Wells, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) Sports Information Director
COLUMBIA, Ky. -- More than 500 Lindsey Wilson College (Ky.) student-athletes worked this fall to make the Christmas season special for children they will most likely never meet.
The Blue Raiders produced 559 shoeboxes for the college’s participation in Operation Christmas Child. In total, the LWC community gathered almost 750 shoeboxes to help the international aid organization.
“I am extremely proud of our student-athletes and our coaches for their commitment to our Operation Christmas Child outreach,” LWC Director of Athletics Willis Pooler said. “It was amazing to see all of the stacked shoeboxes and know that we are going to help hundreds of children throughout the world this Christmas.”
Operation Christmas Child is coordinated by Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization that provides spiritual and physical aid to people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan's Purse has helped worked with victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease and famine.
The LWC shoeboxes collected for Operation Christmas Child are filled with toys, school supplies and personal hygiene items and given to disadvantaged children in developing countries.
“Part of the mission of Lindsey Wilson College is to serve, and our student-athletes did that in a beautiful way by participating in Operation Christmas Child,” said LWC Vice President for Educational Outreach and Financial Services Denise Fudge, who helped coordinate the OCC effort with LWC athletics administrative assistant Beth Boisvert. “The shoeboxes they prepared will bless more than 550 children around the world. The smiles on those children’s faces will help to spread an abundance of joy and hope to many people.”
LWC teams purchased items for their shoeboxes, and a number of area businesses also contributed to the cause: LWC alumnus Dr. Ricky Farmer’s Lake Pointe Dental Care of Somerset, Ky., provided a toothbrush and toothpaste; Sonic of Greensburg, Ky., donated plastic cups to use as containers for food and water at school; and members of Adair County Primary Center School donated school supplies.
Many of the boxes also included notes and letters from the LWC student-athletes.
“It is amazing to see how Lindsey Wilson students and staff have embraced the mission of Operation Christmas Child,” Operation Christmas Child Heart of Kentucky Area Coordinator Kathy Kendrick said. “OCC provides a perfect opportunity for young people to make a real impact on the life of a child on the other side of the world without leaving home or spending a lot of money.
“Lindsey Wilson students are making the most of that opportunity by packing shoebox gifts and in doing so they are establishing a habit of giving that will enrich their own lives and the lives of others today and in the future.”
For the last 20 years, volunteers in 11 countries have sent more than 100 million shoeboxes to children in more than 100 countries.
“I am blessed through sharing in this ministry with the Lindsey Wilson student-athletes, coaches and the entire athletics department,” OCC Heart of Kentucky Network Coordinator Jean Denny said. “Their enthusiastic participation and heartfelt dedication to Operation Christmas Child is helping to provide immeasurably more to precious children all around the world.”