Box by box...bag by bag they have arrived the past few weeks on the campus of Grace Community High School. Grace the drop off point for a project called Operation Christmas Child. It is the product of Franklin Graham's Samaritan Purse organization. The idea is pretty simple. Children fill shoe boxes with toys and personal items...that are then shipped to kids around the world.
It was ten years ago that Grace Community School became the East Texas collection site. By the end of the day Wednesday 15,460 boxes had been dropped off from churches and schools across East Texas.
"It was a little overwhelming to think that that could really happen and if it did we wanted to be a part of that. And offer a facility close by for people to participate. Accept what we could and fill up that 18 wheeler," says Grace coordinator Elaine Florey.
"And to see all those boxes coming in... I remember one car pulled up with this whole truck bed full just trash and trash bags stacked on top of each other filled with boxes and we asked do you know how many there is and she said she had no clue. And we had to unpack and count every single one of them... Its just really cool," says Grace 11th grader Mallory Robinson.
Along with making donations themselves Grace students took turns sorting through dropped off items and getting them ready to load on the truck. It was pretty easy to see this was a special day for these kids. The 6th graders at Grace were hard at work when we were there.
"It just feels really good. That we are giving them the toys they can play with for a very long time. I don't know its hard to explain. We just feel really good inside that we are giving toys to kids around the world that don't have anything and we have everything," says Grace 6th grader Alexis Trimble.
"It helps me feel good because I'm helping kids around world not just in Tyler. And it feels good to make people happy" says Grace 6th grader Kendrick Wong.
The 15 thousand boxes here will be shipped off to Graham's organization who then prepares them for deliver around the world.
A promotion video is as about as close as anyone will come to seeing how their efforts have helped answer prayers in places they may have never even heard of...
"Its big to them and a of times with the information that goes out with the box, where they share the gospel of Jesus Christ, and how that impacts their whole family. Their parents, their grandparents, aunts and uncles, the big impact... Even though we don't see that face to face... Because we get to see the video and here about through newsletters...we still feel like we are a part of that and realize its a big thing," says Florey.
And at the end of the day...sixth grader Rachel Hamilton may have put it best.
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