Bowling Green community works with Operation Christmas Child

Lindsay Kriz

This coming weekend, Omega Phi Alpha and churches within the region are helping to give back to the world through a service project.

The project, known as Operation Christmas Child, allows for those who wish to participate to fill boxes with goods for boys and girls of different ages from across the world.

Items that can be included are small toy cars, yo-yos, t-shirts, jump ropes and hygienic products.

Non-perishable, non-chocolate candies and personal notes may also be included if the donor wishes.

Bowling Green sophomore Addie Dodson, who is a member of Omega Phi Alpha, said the project is just one of the chapter’s nation-wide projects.

According to Dodson, the sorority has been ready for the project since Rush Week, when pledges wrapped the boxes that contain the items.

“It’s small, but children really enjoy it,” she said. “It brings them a little bit of happiness this time of year.”

Ben Brewster, the university pastor with Baptist Campus

Ministries, is also involved with spreading the word about the project, and also has a personal connection to it.

“My parents live in Honduras and work in an orphanage,” he said. “And last year some shoeboxes from Samaritan’s Purse showed up, and so it’s really cool to see it on the other end.”

Brewster said that other organizations are still accepting boxes until Monday.

That’s when trucks come to pick up the boxes and take them to a regional office in Georgia, according to Betty Harper, who is the coordinator of the Communion Center at Forest Park Baptist Church, located on Old Morgantown Road.

Harper, who said that this is the 14th year the church has participated in the project, said there are eight relays, or small collecting sites in the area, in addition to other groups and churches that are collecting boxes.

Once patrons donate boxes, a volunteer team rubber bands the boxes shut and puts 18 to 22 of them in a shipping cart.

They stay in the building until WKU students or other volunteers come and help load them onto trucks, who then take the boxes to a processing center in Georgia.

Once there, the boxes are inspected thoroughly to make sure items like toy guns, liquids and chocolate do not make it past the point.

From there, they make their way across the world, some even staying within the U.S.

Helen Taylor, a volunteer at Forest Park Baptist Church, said the boxes make their way to children in the most interesting ways.

“They’ve traveled on elephants and mules,” she said. “It’s wonderful. Many kids who have nothing here in the U.S. are rich compared to them.”

The church is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, and is accepting boxes until six p.m. next Monday.

Dodson also added that next Monday, Omega Phi Alpha will be collecting boxes on the second floor of Downing University Center from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.