Freshmen get into Christmas spirit with class project

By Linda Nguyen

Staff Writer

Fill your empty shoeboxes for children.

Every year, the freshman class does a project to benefit the community through service and ministry.

This year, Kingwood freshman class and president Jay Fields and the other class officers chose Operation Christmas Child for their class project.

The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to bring gifts and the gospel to children who would not normally receive a present on Christmas.

“Operation Christmas Child is basically the combination of helping people who are less fortunate than us materially and people who are less fortunate than us in access to the gospel,” Fields said.

“We are at the same time helping kids who don’t normally get presents for Christmas and who normally don’t hear about the gospel.”

Fields said the freshman class is trying to send shoeboxes filled with toys, school supplies and other things to children in need.

“It’s a great act of mission and service to help the life of somebody who needs it,” Fields said.

Fields said the freshman class has already started taking shoebox donations. Anyone can participate by filling a shoebox or donating money.

Collection boxes are in Alexander Residential Hall, Brooks Residential College, Penland Hall, Collins Hall and the Bill Daniel Student Union Building.

They will collect shoeboxes in all the collection boxes, but the shipping costs have to be turned in to the student government office located in the SUB.

People can also donate money to the student government office. The freshman class will be hosting Operation Christmas Child from now until Nov. 16.

“How it works is each person who wants to make a shoebox assembles their box and puts toys in it,” Fields said. “A $7 donation is needed for shipping and that can be brought to the student government office.”

Fields also said people who do not have the time to individually assemble their own shoeboxes can donate money that will be put toward buying things to fill the shoe boxes.

“If someone wants to donate money, $15 would be a good number — $8 for the toys and $7 for the shipping,” Fields said.

Fields said the freshman class got the idea to do Operation Christmas Child from the freshman class of 2010.

“Rachel Adams, the freshman class president two years ago, was telling me about it and it seemed to be something that really fit our mission as freshman class officers and student government as a whole,” Fields said. “I felt like it was a good opportunity.”

Baylor law professor Brandon Quarles and his family have taken the spirit of Operation Christmas Child to heart for years.

“My wife, actually, has been involved with Operation Christmas Child kind of on a year-round basis for the past six years,” Quarles said. “She and my children have been involved in packing shoeboxes for six years. I’ve been indirectly involved in buying toys and stuff.”

Quarles said he is really excited the freshman class is doing Operation Christmas Child.

“I think it’s a tremendous ministry,” Quarles said.

“I think it’s a very worthwhile ministry for the freshman class to get involved in. It would be my hope that it’s something they would want to do in future years and maybe expand beyond the freshman class to people all over the university.” Quarles said Operation Christmas Child has come to have a much deeper meaning to him this year.

“This is the first year I’ve decided to pour myself into it and be more involved than I have in other years,” Quarles said.

“The primary reason I’ve been more involved is that I’ve realized the shoeboxes are so much more than the trinkets that go inside them. Each box is a gospel message.”

Quarles said this is a way he fulfills the Great Commission in the Bible.

“It is a way for people to help fulfill the Great Commission without having to travel internationally,” Quarles said. “This is a very simple but important way to obey without having to leave Central Texas.”