23 people. A goal of 20 boxes and 1 van full of teenagers- hungry, excited, and all ready to pack boxes. This was my day. After church, we piled into the church van with 3 other cars trailing behind us, all geared up for a day of boxes and Pizza Hut. It really can’t get better than that. This was my first official time doing Christmas boxes with Cornerstone. In the past I had definitely packed some shoe boxes, putting random stuff in there that mom had picked up at the Dollar General, but it doesn’t even begin to compare to today. Today was different from anything that I have experienced
Picture almost 20 people (give or take once Pizza Hut was over) overwhelming Perry Dollar Tree. Amazing. I can not even begin to describe the view of this many personalities and ideas. I laughed so hard as the boys walked around grabbing Beef Jerky, different tools, and comic books off the shelves ( I definitely had to put back some of their stuff, i.e. silly string, gorilla glue). And of course, the girls had so much fun finding princess, makeup, and girly things. It was creativity at its finest. The isles were packed with kids all carrying shoeboxes and bags full of fun and eclectic treasures ( where you can only get at the DT). The people at the Dollar Tree had no idea what to do with us. We were like ants, we had 45 minutes to get as much stuff and get loaded back into the van.
By the time we got back to the church it was chaos to get our boxes filled before Sunday night service. We stuffed, rearranged, stuffed again, shoved, cut, and packed those boxes to the brim. There is something so infectious about being able to pick out something for someone else. It is love to the core. These kids hand picked these toys, these gifts. You might scoff at the idea that it just came from the Dollar Tree, but as a Teenager you are not rich. 20 dollars is a lot. A whole day picking and packing is a lot. Time and effort were well spent for these amazing children around the world. It is selfless. It is the beginnings of hopefully a life long gift of compassion. Not just Operation Christmas Child, but in every day instances. It taught that sometimes a gift should be necessary. So toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, etc. went into our boxes. As such, the gifts we are blessed with, they are necessary. Encouragement, compassion, love, faith, determination. It brought home what Christmas is really about. Giving. Loving. Whether it be at Pizza Hut around a Veggie Lovers stuffed crust pizza, or sending a shoe box all the way around the world.
. It may not be huge but when you exceed your goal of 20 and make 27 boxes, you can’t help but be proud of the people that helped make this day happen. This is for you guys, and this is for anyone and everyone out there uniting on the forefront making Operation Christmas Child a success. This is our day. This is Love.