Pirie school jumps on board with Operation Christmas Child

GIFT: Students at St Mark's College have filled about 79 shoe boxes full of gifts for children in third world countries as part of Operation Christmas Child. Pictured are Imogen, back left, Sophie, Finley, Shayla, Taylah, front left, Whitney and Maelie.
GIFT: Students at St Mark's College have filled about 79 shoe boxes full of gifts for children in third world countries as part of Operation Christmas Child. Pictured are Imogen, back left, Sophie, Finley, Shayla, Taylah, front left, Whitney and Maelie.

The St Mark's College community have shown their generosity by filling 79 shoe boxes with gifts as part of Operation Christmas Child.

The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to provide God's love in a practical way to children in need around the world.

As part of the college's connection with the Parish, students jumped on board to donate something to love, play with, wear, as well as school supplies and hygiene items.

Assistant principal Katie Pole said it is a tangible way for students to see the help that they are giving.

"They have input into actually packing the presents and can think about if they were a person on the other side of the world and was receiving a gift, what would they hope to have in that box," she said.

"In some ways it is hard for them to connect because they are not in a place where they wouldn't expect not to receive a gift, but I guess it is something that all kids look forward to, so when you say there is another child that won't get a gift then they are moved to do something about that.

"It's a part of being a global citizen and being aware of world issues and things that all people in the world face, but it is also a really good way of developing the whole person and empathy, which is something that all students need to be successful operators in our world."

At an assembly on September 16, the shoe boxes were handed over to Francie DeGiglio and Marie Capurso, of St Mark's Parish, who have been involved with the operation for the past 20 years.

Ms DeGiglio said it is "amazing" that the college community has rallied together and given to others despite the coronavirus crisis.

"These kids in third world countries don't get presents at all. They don't get presents on their birthday, they don't get presents for Christmas, so this is the only gift they will receive," she said.

"It's just something little that you can do that creates a big impact for these children that would otherwise get nothing.

"It's really good to have the school involved and being the COVID year it has been a bit uncertain.

"We weren't going to do it this year, because we thought it was a pretty bad year and we have got to ask people to give when they have hardly got enough to themselves, but it has just been amazing and the kids just love it."

On October 18, before the shoe boxes make their journey to the children overseas, there will be a High Mass where a blessing will be given.

"We pray for the children that have actually packed the shoe box and they get blessed by the priest at a High Mass and then we pray for the children who are receiving the shoe boxes," said Ms DeGiglio.

"Just to know the love of God and spreading the word."

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