USAF Cadets Made Kids Happy During Christmas
Christmas has come and gone, everyone was busy doing their share of preparation for the most awaited event of the year. Some start buying gifts for their loved ones, friends, relatives and colleagues, while others commence saving money for the holidays. Some people even organize parties, reunions and get-together events during Christmas. Since majority of us have long vacation during the holidays, it is the perfect time to share precious moments with loved ones. Regardless of what you did during the Holiday, there are some individuals who had a lonely and bitter Christmas because they cannot afford to buy the things and food their hearts desire, especially those coming from poverty-inflicted areas, war-damaged countries and calamity-afflicted nations. Is there are chance for them to be happy this Christmas? The cadets of the United States Air Force Academy heeded their needs and stepped up their efforts to make less fortunate children from across the globe happy this Christmas. They initiated the Operation Christmas Child, where they collected shoe boxes containing toiletries and toys from kind-hearted Samaritans who want to help and make Christmas special for these children. In just a matter of weeks, cadets managed to collect thousands of shoe boxes containing items which would make children happy. According to Darren Duncan, Air Force Chaplain and the cadet who initiated the Operation Christmas Child, it is one of the several relief initiatives sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian affiliate organization initiated by Bob Pierce in 1970. In 1978, Reverend Billy Graham’s son Franklin Graham took over as president of Samaritan’s Purse. The Operation Christmas Child runs from November 14 to 21, 2011, giving individuals from overseas enough time to deliver their gifts just before Christmas. They asked that any gifts donated be age specific to either boy or girl, thus one shoebox should not contain a mixture of items suitable for boys and girls, but it should concentrate only to one gender. The shoe boxes collected under the Operation Christmas Child scheme contain balls, cars, dolls, crayons, jump ropes, notebooks, toothpaste, soaps and lollipops. The gifts are sent to different countries worldwide who are poverty-affected, nations which are hit by calamities and those who are damaged by war. The people in these areas, especially the children, need all the support and assistance to make them happy during the holidays. Chaplain Duncan said that the response and support of those who wanted to help are tremendous and overwhelming. He said that cadets sent emails to protestant Christians to solicit their participation. He is happy and blown away by its success, especially with the myriad phone calls and he received from interested individuals who want to participate in the initiative. Since Samaritan’s Purse is a religious organization, the Air Force cadets need to collaborate with the Cadet Chaplain Corps to realize their toy drive. The Cadet Chaplain Corps advertises all events and programs to spread the word about the scheme and to gather donations. It is the first time that cadets joined this type of toy drive, where they collected a total of 170 boxes, which boxes are delivered to different locations on November 20, 2011. Apart from the Operation Christmas Child, the Air Force cadets also participate in different community projects countrywide.