Miracle on College Avenue: a Christmas shoebox story

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise’s National Society of Leadership & Success (NSLS) organization recently completed their fifth annual Campus Shoebox Campaign with its largest amount of collections ever—268 shoeboxes—ready to be shipped off to needy children across the globe for this holiday season.

Children between the ages of two and fourteen are eligible to receive a shoebox through the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child program which began in 1993 as a mergence between the Wales-based shoebox gift program and Samaritan’s Purse. It quickly expanded to other nations allowing service to over one-hundred forty- six million children in over one-hundred countries since its inception.

“It is so rewarding to see the campus community embrace this special outreach project for children,” said NSLS Co-Advisor Stephanie Shell, recounting the many on-campus clubs, individuals, and organizations that leant a hand in this year’s collection including: Alpha Phi Sigma, Psi Chi, Sigma Alpha Omega, 7 C’s, National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH), and NSLS. Shell also thanked the Student Activity Board’s Cavalier Athletic Promotions Committee, which collected donations at a football game.

In 2016, the UVa-Wise campaign collected 176 boxes that were delivered to Togo, Burundi, and other areas in 21 countries. It is important to note that receiving a shoebox is a once-in-a-lifetime event as there is an age restriction and the percentage of eligible children in these countries is vast—often rivaling half of the nations’ populations.

Shell also helped the Athletic Department in hosting a packing party for the fourth year since the college’s inclusion in the Campus Shoebox Campaign, with a record-breaking 173 shoeboxes packed – only three less than the total number of shoeboxes collected campus-wide in the previous year.

Psi Chi also hosted a packing party for the first time this year, assisted by NSLS Co-Advisor Jewell Worley.

NSLS hopes to see even more shoeboxes collected and more folks involved next year. Contact an NSLS advisor or E-Board member for more information.

Visit www.samaritanspurse.org to learn more about Operation Christmas Child.

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