Christmas is girl’s year-round mission
When Zoe Sanville learned there were children with no parents and no access to toys, or even combs, she wanted to help.
For the past five years, Zoe, 10, has spent her birthday party packing shoeboxes for the global initiative Operation Christmas Child, so she can give toys, clothes and basic hygiene products to needy children around the world.
“I like to put in stuffed animals, art supplies, and a new hairbrush or comb, or games, and new clothes like hats and mittens,” said Zoe, a fourth-grader at Scenic Elementary.
She’s got a lot to give.
“Sometimes, you have to squish it in,” Zoe said.
Her friends fill their own boxes at Zoe’s birthday party, too.
The filled boxes for boys and girls between the ages of 2-14 will be collected this week, Nov. 18-25, at points throughout the country, including numerous places on the Western Slope.
People can designate the age group or gender the box was filled for at the drop off. The age groups for each gender are broken up: 2-4 years, 5-9 years and 10-14 years.
Operation Christmas Child is a project from Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational Christian organization “providing spiritual and physical aid to people around the world,” according to the organization’s website.
Franklin Graham, son of longtime evangelist Billy Graham, is Samaritan’s Purse chief executive officer.
“Since 1993, more than 100 million boys and girls in over 130 countries have experienced God’s love through the power of simple shoebox gifts from Operation Christmas Child,” according to the initiative’s website. “Samaritan’s Purse works” with partners to deliver the gifts and share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
More information on the project, including guidelines on what to give, is at samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child.
The project’s getting a little boost this year thanks to “Duck Dynasty” TV star Si Robertson, who’s raising awareness for Operation Christmas Child.
He filmed a video about the project that’s on You Tube, youtube.com/watch?v=s1lLqdgXMB8.
Nicci Sanville, Zoe’s mother, first heard about the project five years ago while the family was living on the Front Range, and said it’s been rewarding to watch her daughter gain a deeper understanding of giving to those in need through each packing party.
Cost to ship each shoebox is $7, and Nicci said the family plans for the project all year, purchasing items with coupons or by buying things on end-of-season clearance.
“A bar of soap or a brand new stuffed animal means the world to some kids,” Nicci Sanville said. “One box can make the difference.”
Plus, “it’s fun” to give, Zoe said.