Stu­dents fill boxes of Christ­mas joy

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - REXINE HAWES

How can a shoe box-sized present make a dif­fer­ence to a child in poverty?

Mata­mata In­ter­me­di­ate stu­dents have taken it upon them­selves to make a dif­fer­ence in young chil­dren’s lives, by par­tic­i­pat­ing in Sa­mar­i­tans Purse, Op­er­a­tion Christ­mas Child project.

Sa­mar­i­tan’s Purse is a non-profit, Chris­tian or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­vid­ing emer­gency re­lief and de­vel­op­ment as­sis­tance to suf­fer­ing peo­ple around the world.

The Op­er­a­tion Christ­mas Child boxes - the size of a shoe box - gets filled with par­tic­u­lar items, such as a toy, san­i­tary item, sta­tion­ary for school, a piece of cloth­ing and is sent to coun­tries where chil­dren are grow­ing up in se­ri­ous poverty.

For many chil­dren, this will be the first gift they have ever re­ceived.

The project was es­pe­cially sat­is­fy­ing for stu­dents Rangi­maria Turner, 13, and Mikayla Collings, 13.

‘‘I thought it was a good ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s more the feel­ing of giv­ing. We have had so many Christ­mas presents over the years and this is their first one. Just see­ing their faces, their smile (on a video) was very pleas­ing,’’ says Mikayla.

‘‘It’s hard to imag­ine, some things our par­ents just give us. But they don’t have the money or priv­i­lege for their par­ents splurge out.’’

They both say they have since gained a greater un­der­stand­ing of chil­dren liv­ing in poverty and an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the things they do have.

Both girls filled a box for girls aged 5-7. Rangi­maria says the boxes were very easy to fill.

‘‘I went for things that I en­joyed when I was lit­tle. Things that would keep them en­ter­tained.’’

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Mikayla Collings and Rangi­maria Turner with the Op­er­a­tion Christ­mas Child boxes their school is do­nat­ing.

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