Volunteers pack over 400 boxes for Operation Christmas Child

To spread some early holiday cheer, volunteers with Tri-Cities Fellowship of Christian Athletes spent hours packing gift boxes at Bethel Church in Richland.

The packages are a part of Operation Christmas Child that aims to give presents to children who might not receive anything otherwise.

Amy Thornton, the area representative for FCA, said “it feels like a blessing to give back.”

“These presents literally go all around the world and for some of these children, this is the first or maybe only gift they receive in a lifetime,” Thornton said.

She said that 2020 added an “urgency and need” for these gifts.

“We haven’t been able to do as much as we normally do during the year because of COVID-19,” Thornton said. “So to be able to give back in this way blesses the children and us too to be able to give and support during this time.”

Volunteers filled shoeboxes stuffed with donated items like school supplies, hygienic items and assorted toys.

“I just pick out what speaks to me in my heart because you don’t know what that kid is going to want and going to need,” said 17-year-old volunteer Maysen Chelin.

Maya Thornton, a 19-year-old volunteer, said her favorite part was helping the children.

“I love hearing the stories afterwards of the kids who are just completely overjoyed,” Thornton said.

So far, the group has packed over 400 boxes, close to their 455 goal.

The packages will be handed out next week in a COVID-19 safe drive-thru, but if you have items to donate or you want to help pack, click here.