GRANGEVILLE — What costs $7 to deliver halfway across the world (or maybe all the way across the world) and brings priceless joy? A box full of goodies through Operation Christmas Child, of course.
“We’ve been a part of filling shoeboxes for kids for years,” said Grangeville High School senior Kennadee Conner. When she heard humanitarian ventures were smiled upon for senior projects, she said she knew right away what she wanted to do.
Conner, 17, began collecting items and money in October for the Samaritan’s Purse International Relief program that runs Operation Christmas Child. With the motto of “what goes in a shoebox is fun, what comes out is eternal,” the non-denominational Christian organization delivers shoebox gifts to children all over the world.
“There are so many ideas to fill up the boxes – games, shirts, crayons, paper, toys,” Conner said. “I did a lot of my shopping at the Dollar Store.”
Conner placed donation jars at her church, Real Life, as well as in businesses throughout Grangeville. All together she raised $650. Another 42 people took boxes to fill themselves and returned them to Conner. In all, she delivered 116 boxes to Christy Facey at Grangeville Auto and Diesel Mechanic last week. Facey is a representative for ALACCA Bible Camp in Harpster which is a collection center for the boxes.
“I ended up with 116 in all,” Conner smiled. “My goal was 100, so I’m pretty happy.”
Boxes are for both girls and boys and are in age categories of 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14.
President and CEO of Operation Christmas Child is Franklin Graham, the son of Rev. Billy and Ruth Bell Graham. Under his leadership, Samaritan’s Purse has met the needs of poor, sick, and suffering. Processing centers place Biblical literature in the boxes specific to the region where the boxes will be delivered.
Since 1993, more than 113 million boxes have been distributed in more than 130 countries. Each year, the project mobilizes more than 100,000 volunteers in the United States.
“I appreciate all the help from this community and am excited we can offer this many gifts to kids in need,” Conner said.
In her boxes, she placed a picture of herself with a greeting and a return address.
“I’m hoping to hear back from someone – that would be great,” she said.
Conner will present her senior project to the public next year. She is the daughter of Ken and Sherri Conner and has attended GHS since her sophomore year. She has one sister, Maicee, a sophomore.