By: Thania Figueroa/Staff Writer
“Christmas in a Shoebox,” also known as “Operation Christmas Child,” is a project by Samaritan Purse, an international organization. This project helps give over 10 million Christmas presents to boys and girls from ages 2 to 14 in over 170 countries.
Dr. Nick Petrov and the MVC Campus Ministry are bringing ‘Christmas in a Shoebox’ to campus for the first time to allow students and staff to help children in need.
When Petrov’s son was 2 years old, they brought him a gift in a shoebox. “He was happy as can be,” Petrov said.
This happened about 16 years ago when Petrov was living in Bulgaria. He wondered about this program and did his own research. He found they were a program in North Carolina that shipped presents to children all around the world. He started volunteering and supporting the organization.
Petrov’s goal is to send 400 to 500 boxes to children all over the world. He asks that students buy a few items like toys, personal care items like toothbrushes and school supplies to fill these boxes.
Heather Troth, the assistant professor of Non-Profit Leadership and the campus executive director of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Association, is having her students help with this program, as well.
Troth has been familiar with Operation Christmas Child for several years now. She and her family have been participating in this program through their church. When Troth heard about this program coming to campus, she got really excited.
“It’s a great program that has wonderful benefits,” Troth said. “It’s a super easy way to feel like you’re doing something positive in the spirit of Christmas.”
Troth and the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Association’s goal is to collect enough items to fill 20-40 boxes.
“It plays very well into what the mission is of our organization, our student association, which is helping marginalized populations of people in need,” Troth said.
Collection of these boxes will take place on November 14th and 15th at the Chapel between 6:30pm and 7:30pm. Boxes can also be left at Petrov’s office.
Once they are collected, they will be transferred to a local church. From there, they will be sent to North Carolina and then distributed all around the world. This program allows individuals to track where their gifts are being sent to.
“I am very thankful for the overwhelming support because I had a meeting in the Chapel. I invited 10 students to help me with the project, over 30 students came. I see students realize this is something important,” Petrov said.