Special ed students participate in Operation Christmas Child

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Special ed students participate in Operation Christmas Child

Special School District teacher Therese Meres helps senior Nick Waldrop package a hygiene kit. Over 100 shoe boxes were filled by West students.

Special School District teacher Therese Meres helps senior Nick Waldrop package a hygiene kit. Over 100 shoe boxes were filled by West students. "[Operation Christmas Child] packs 20,500 shoeboxes with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items for children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine," Operation Christmas Child of St. Louis’ media coordinator Julie Northrip said.

Katie Spillman

Special School District teacher Therese Meres helps senior Nick Waldrop package a hygiene kit. Over 100 shoe boxes were filled by West students. "[Operation Christmas Child] packs 20,500 shoeboxes with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items for children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine," Operation Christmas Child of St. Louis’ media coordinator Julie Northrip said.

Katie Spillman

Katie Spillman

Special School District teacher Therese Meres helps senior Nick Waldrop package a hygiene kit. Over 100 shoe boxes were filled by West students. "[Operation Christmas Child] packs 20,500 shoeboxes with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items for children affected by war, disease, disaster, poverty and famine," Operation Christmas Child of St. Louis’ media coordinator Julie Northrip said.

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It might be only October, but this does not phase the spirit of gift giving for students participating in Operation Christmas Child. Operation Christmas Child delivers gifts to 146 million children in more than 100 impoverished or war-torn countries.

To assist St. Mark Presbyterian Church’s Operation Christmas Child efforts, 12 Special Education students in Recreation and Leisure and Job Skills classes packaged gifts in over 100 shoeboxes that will be shipped worldwide to children in need.

“One of the parents of one of my students is a Director of Operation Christmas Child. When we were talking about different things we would do in our Jobs Skills class, a lot of the tasks we create are exactly what she was doing with all these projects. She brought up all the supplies and the kids went to work,” Recreation and Leisure teacher Ann Hawkey said.

That parent, Katie Sternhagen, is a graduate of West, and her daughter Jillian, who attends Claymont, got involved with the program at church. The boxes the Sternhagens and Hawkey’s students packed will be dropped off in November.

I really hope it will improve children’s everyday life. It’s a lot of items that we take for granted here and a lot of children around the world don’t have school supplies or hygiene products, so I hope they get a lot of use out of it.”

— Ann Hawkey

“All the boxes collected in the St. Louis area will be taken by trucks to a processing center and then shipped off to children in need around the world. At the end of the year we should receive information on the country or countries where the boxes were delivered,” Operation Christmas Child of St. Louis’ media coordinator Julie Northrip said.

Students packaged hygiene kits and pencil cases in order to increase impoverished children’s access to resources. Hygiene packets contained soap, a toothbrush and a washcloth; pencil cases were filled with school supplies like crayons, pencils, pens and erasers.

“I really hope it will improve children’s everyday life. It’s a lot of items that we take for granted here and a lot of children around the world don’t have school supplies or hygiene products, so I hope they get a lot of use out of it,” Hawkey said.

Senior Luke Whitten is one of Hawkey’s students who participated in Operation Christmas Child. His favorite part was packing school supplies.

“I liked putting the scissors in the box. I put pencils and erasers and pens in the box too,” Whitten said. “It made me feel good [to be helping kids].”

Hawkey hopes that through their participation in Operation Christmas Child, her students will develop employable skills to aid them in the job market.

“The students really worked hard on it. They worked on following directions and doing things in order. They really were listening and increasing their skills of packaging, which are skills that will make them more employable,” Hawkey said. “I hope they also have that sense of community and that they are helping out people in need. There are several different pieces that will help them succeed.”

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