Jaylin Stapleton/ The Bison
Top: Teammates from both the volleyball and the women’s basketball teams partnered with Samaritan’s Purse last week to collect, pack and decorate boxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Oklahoma Baptist University volleyball and women’s basketball teams partnered with Samaritan’s Purse and collected gift and donations from fans at their games Tuesday, Nov. 12 to donate to Operation Christmas Child.
The following morning, members of both teams helped pack the gifts in shoeboxes and decorated them to send to underprivileged girls.
Shawnee resident and Operation Christmas child volunteer Dora Row helped organize Girl’s Night, collect the donations and send the shoeboxes to girls across the world.
“I’ve been volunteering and helping with operation Christmas child for almost 25 years now,” Row said.
Row first began helping with Operation Christmas Child in 1995.
“I first started helping with operation Christmas child in remembrance of my son who passed away,” she said.
“I packed my first shoe- box in 1995 and have packed shoeboxes in memory of him ever since.”
Row was first introduced to the operation Christmas child project by a couple in Oklahoma City.
“There was a very influential couple in Oklahoma City and they were very dedicated to the ministry. They told me the benefits of children receiving their Christmas presents in these shoeboxes and how these gifts are the only Christmas presents they will receive,” Row said.
Row said she continues to pack boxes every year on her birthday with a group of friends, family and even sometimes strangers.
Instead of receiving birthday presents from friends and family, Row has a packing party she hosts at her house each year around her birthday.
“This year at my packing party, I think we packed over 1300 shoeboxes. We also packed over 500 soccer balls for older boys which I think they will really enjoy,” Row said.
Packing over 500 soccer balls for older boys this year was important to Row because older children don’t get as many boxes and sometimes aren’t as easy to pack gifts for as the younger children, she said.
“I think it is important to try and send as many boxes as we can to older children be- cause we can teach them and influence them more about Jesus,” Row said.
“They will learn and re- member more about Jesus through these boxes than the younger children.”
Girl’s Night is not the first event Row has helped organize at OBU.
“We have tried to collect different items at different sporting events at OBU. Once people learn how important and impactful these small gifts can be for children around the world, I think the donation numbers will increase even more,” Row said.
The volleyball and women’s basketball teams want- ed to help Row in her endeavors, and they helped pack and decorate the shoeboxes Wednesday morning.
“The girls on both teams took this on and did a great job helping us pack the shoeboxes,” Row said.
“All of them seemed excited and understood the importance of sending these gifts to children around the world.”
Members of both teams were excited to help make an impact on children.
“I really enjoyed packing the shoeboxes Wednesday morning and seeing all of the different donations our fans were willing to bring to our game Tuesday,” women’s basketball player and business major Kinsey Neiderer said.
Not only are many children impacted by Operation Christmas Child but the packing process also impacts the volunteers.
“Seeing all of the shoeboxes we packed for girls was very heartwarming,” she said.
“Knowing that the gift I packed might be the only Christmas present a little girl receives this year made me really think about how blessed I am to be surrounded by family and friends and celebrate Christmas every year,” Neiderer said.