Christmas is a time for giving gifts to loved ones, but for one Chaminade Julienne family, the giving begins in November and benefits children around the world.
Each November, Clara Mussin Phillips and Noah Mussin Phillips (pictured right), both members of the class of 2017, along with their parents, Mark Phillips and Liz Mussin, host their annual, Operation Christmas Child "Shoebox Party.” They gather friends for a meal and ask guests to bring two things: a toy and a shoebox.
Operation Christmas Child is a program run by Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief agency. The program encourages others to share at Christmas by packing a simple shoebox for a child in need. Each shoebox is designated for a boy or a girl and contains gifts that will delight, such as age-appropriate toys, school supplies, hygiene products, and accessories along with a personal note. The packed shoeboxes are wrapped and sent to Samaritan’s Purse who distributes them to children around the world, giving them perhaps their only gift this season.
“Operation Christmas Child is so important because it brings joy and the love of Jesus to children around the world who otherwise would know neither,” Mark said.
The Mussin Phillips family and about 40 friends donated and packed 36 shoeboxes this year for Operation Christmas Child. In addition to the donation from the Mussin Phillip’s party, Samaritan’s Purse hopes to reach another 10 million children this Christmas through Operation Christmas Child.
“One of the things we like most about the party is that it brings together each of our circles,” said Mark. They began packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child when Clara and Noah were in elementary school in Michigan. After they moved to Ohio, the family saw the need to continue the tradition here in Dayton.
“We invite school friends, church friends, people we know from CJ, and people we knew even before we came to CJ,” Noah said.
“The one thing all these people have in common is the desire to give to someone less fortunate than themselves,” added Mark.
Laughter and fun are in no short supply on packing night. “My favorite part is watching people attempt to wrap the shoebox,” said Clara. “Because these boxes have to go through customs in other countries, you have to wrap the lid and bottom of the box separately. I like the challenge!”
While wrapping the shoebox may be a challenge, this is a simple way the Mussin Phillips clan gives back, according to Mark. “Our small part in the process is important for us because it allows us to share the abundance of blessings God has given us.
“We share a meal, have fun together and are blessed by the entire evening.”