Rockford Christian School students rally to increase

If students can bring in greatly needed undergarments and socks for underprivileged kids, teachers will wear undergarment on their heads.

For the ninth straight year, Rockford Christian School (RCS) is participating in the national Operation Christmas Child program that distributes gift boxes with toys, essentials and the Gospel to millions of needy children around the world. Last year almost eight million children received a box from Samaritan’s Purse.

This year, the student body will not only be collecting items for the boxes like toothbrushes, coloring books, socks and snacks, they will also be coordinating a fundraiser to pay for shipment of the gifts. One of the events is a fall bake sale. Cider, donuts, and various other baked goods will be sold during the morning and noon break. Students are also encouraged to earn money by raking neighbor’s leaves or helping their parents or grandparents with other chores to earn money for shipment so that they have personal involvement in this outreach program.

Students will also be painting the shoeboxes so that the recipients have something festive to open and keep throughout the year. Many of the children who receive the boxes don’t have a place to place their personal treasures, so the boxes are sometimes just as much of a gift as the items inside the boxes.

In addition, to painting more than 200 shoeboxes, students will also be writing personal letters and including pictures of themselves, and will also pack all the boxes. More importantly, students will take a box and will pray for the recipient. In addition to receiving the boxes, children around the world receive follow-up discipleship. Many children accept God’s gift of salvation as a result of Operation Christmas Child, which was started in 1970 and is now led by Billy Graham’s son, Franklin Graham.

During the program launch, a challenge was initiated by the teacher coordinator, Katie Underwood. “If the students can collect 250 undergarments and socks, our sixth-grade teacher, Don VerMerris, will wear a pair of underwear on his head for an entire day. If we exceed the goal, our seventh-grade teacher, Julie Barrett, will also don a pair on her head. The kids are motivated by the challenge and get a big kick out of their teachers wearing the underwear.”

RCS will collect items for the boxes until Nov. 16. The community is invited to donate items for the boxes, and RCS will pack the boxes. Requested items include small toys, stuffed animals, washcloths, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, small coloring books and crayons. Pre-packed shoeboxes and donations can be left in the school office.

The Samaritan’s Purse website describes the benefit of Operation Christmas Child this way: “No matter where we go or what we do, we offer more than help. We offer hope. To suffering people in a broken world, we share the news of the only One who can bring true peace—Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.”

For more information about the outreach program or programming at RCS, please contact Principal Jan VanderWerp at (616) 574-6400.

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