Godfrey-Lee Middle School students filled 137 shoe boxes with toys, toothbrushes, school supplies, soap and other items to send to impoverished children this holiday season as part of Operation Christmas Child.
The school has been participating in the project for about 10 years, said Miss Dalia Rios, who directed the project for the school. “Every year it seems to be growing a little more, and that is great,” she said.
Operation Christmas Child has sent more than 100 million boys and girls shoe boxes since 1993.
It’s run by Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization based in Xenia, Ohio, that helps victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease and famine, around the world.
Grand Rapids is part of the West Central Michigan area team which collected 25,242 shoeboxes this year, according to Faith Caldwell, media associate for Operation Christmas Child. “This is 3,000 more shoeboxes than last year,” she said.
Rios loves seeing the students getting involved with the project. “They get to have fun while we are making or filling in the boxes, and they feel good because they are making another child happy,” she said.
“This is important for me because it gives me the chance to help others less fortunate and show the students that even if we are going through difficult times, there is someone else that needs our help,”
The Lee Youth Trained to Serve group organized the project and put the boxes together. Teachers and staff at the middle school also helped. Rewards were given to students who donated items for the boxes.
“We truly are a ‘FamiLee,’ ” she said.