“This year we haven’t been able to see much good going on. It will give them an opportunity to see that even in the hard stuff, we can still do good,” Link Center Educator Mary McBride said about her students volunteering for Operation Christmas Child.
The Link Center is an extension of the Atlantic Community School District where students attend to receive extra support. The Link Center’s goal is to send students back to the high school. This year the students headed out in the snow to help fill trailers full of Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.
Operation Christmas Child is a yearly program that encourages community members to pack shoe boxes for children in need. These shoe boxes are then packed into larger boxes, loaded into a trailer, and sent off in hopes of reaching a child who needs it. The Atlantic Evangelical Free Church is a drop-off location that receives packed shoe boxes from across southwest Iowa.
Having volunteered with Operation Christmas Child in years past, students at the Link Center were invited back this season. On Monday Nov. 23, the students made their way across town to help load the trailer. Senior Sam Lewis was one of the eight students to attend. Lewis said that he looks forward to helping each year and that there is nothing hard about it. “I’m doing it for the kids,” he said.
Students moved large boxes, some holding 16 full shoe boxes, from trailer to trailer. They carried the boxes to a roller conveyor where the number of shoe boxes inside was recorded. Once accounted for, the large boxes were lifted into the trailer and stacked from wall to wall, floor to ceiling.
This was freshman Dalton Logemann’s first time volunteering for this program. “I think the best part is seeing the truck go away, knowing it will go to people who need it,” Logemann said. Freshmen Xavier Anaya and Jayden Hoeck agree that it feels good to make a difference for others.
McBride was excited about her students getting the opportunity to volunteer. “It’s giving them an opportunity to invest in their community and be the ones helping and making an impact. High school students, we’re always worried about helping them, but we forget that they can be the ones making an impact,” McBride said.