"I don't see boxes, I see faces."Those were the words of Lee University's Mike Hayes as he opened the special Operation Christmas Child event at Lee University's Walker Arena Monday night.Over 1,000 …
"I don't see boxes, I see faces."
Those were the words of Lee University's Mike Hayes as he opened the special Operation Christmas Child event at Lee University's Walker Arena Monday night.
Over 1,000 students helped with the project Monday, putting the shoeboxes together and filling them with items for needy children. The students were separated by classes in putting the boxes together, but Hayes said that it is not the OCC boxes that are as important as blessing families, and especially children, through the program. The event involving packing and organizing the gift boxes was called "Packnstack."
"I remember as a 4-year old, our family was doing well, but then my father got into trouble with embezzling funds, had to go to prison and our family was left with little for Christmas," Hayes told the students. "We had a nearby family who wanted to help us, and bless us just a little bit, and took us and gave us three pairs of socks for Christmas. This family had little to give, but wanted to help us."
So, when Hayes was hired at Lee University, he wanted a project that could involve the entire school, and learned of Samaritan's Purse and Operation Christmas Child. He remembered the goal the first year Lee participated (1998) was to fill 100 shoeboxes.
He said that the students and others at the school came through with 250 boxes that first year, and in the 20 years Lee University has been involved with Operation Christmas Child, over 30,000 boxes have been packed at the school.
"And by the end of this week, I would like to see us with 35,000 boxes this year," Hayes said.
He stressed that the shoeboxes are placed in the hands of children all around the world, and if students feel the boxes do not give these children all they need, it is still a great mission for the school to pass along the word of God to these young boys and girls.
"In eternity, some kids we have given a box to, we have led to Christ," Hayes said.
He admitted that these are children the students will probably never encounter, but these Lee University representatives are making a difference.
"Let's change the world one face at a time," he said.
Before the box packing began, students participated in some fun events, including costume contests for the ugliest Christmas sweater and best outfit, and had the opportunity to have their photographs made with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.
"We are having fun, but we know that these items will put smiles on the faces of these children, just like the socks I got on Christmas when I was 4 years old," Hayes said.
Representatives from Samaritan's Purse were present at Monday's event, and recorded much of it to show to others around the country.
Along with Hayes, Rochelle Mayberry was involved in the project as well.
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