Business students pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child


“A small shoebox can have a big impact. What goes into the box is fun, but what comes out of it is eternal,” said Dr. Margaret Kilcoyne. “We try to pack a ‘wow’ item like a doll, truck, or ball and then a wash cloth with a bar of soap and a tooth brush with toothpaste. Then we fill the shoebox with pencils, pens, small notebooks, socks and other items.”

Kilcoyne, interim dean of Northwestern State University’s College of Business and Technology, was referring to Operation Christmas Child, a holiday philanthropy in which shoeboxes are packed with gifts such as toys, school supplies, hygiene products and the like and are distributed to children around the world who are living in areas with poverty, war, disease or natural disaster. National collection week runs from Nov. 14-21.

Kilcoyne and students in NSU’s chapter of Phi Beta Lambda packed more than 75 boxes for the philanthropy. Phi Beta Lambda is the national college career organization for business students.

“We started years ago with a goal of 20 boxes,” said Dr. Julie McDonald, associate professor of business and Phi Beta Lambda sponsor. “We have increased our goal each year. Since this is the 75th anniversary of our national organization, we wanted to pack 75 boxes. We achieved that goal plus five. Our club currently has only 10 members so that’s quite an achievement. The faculty of the College of Business also donate items and money for us to purchase items. The Department of Hospitality Management and Tourism also joined in this year with some donations and had two students come over to help pack, so we were happy to see them.”

The boxes are distributed by pastors or through relief organizations like Samaritan’s Purse.

“It is truly a blessing for the packer and a blessing for the child. It amazes me every year how a small shoebox can have such a big impact on the life of a child; but it is true,” Kilcoyne said. “The small things we take for granted like a hot meal, the ability to take a bath are luxuries in some countries.”