Students Pack Boxes for Operation Christmas Child

News, Student Life

OCC group with Santa

Earlier this month, 685 new Lee University students, Gateway class instructors, and peer leaders participated in the annual Operation Christmas Child (OCC) Pack ‘n’ Stack service event in the Paul Dana Walker Arena. 

During the event, students packed shoeboxes filled with items that they purchased in the weeks leading up to Pack ‘n’ Stack. Over the past 26 years, Lee has collected 47,237 boxes for OCC. This year, students packed over 750 boxes. 

“Lee University is grateful for the opportunity to support the work of Operation Christmas Child for the past 25 years,” said Alex Staup, director of student engagement. “Thanks to the passion and efforts of our students, staff, and faculty during that time, we have been blessed to play a part in bringing good news and great joy to children around the world.” 

Dr. Lorinda Roberts, coordinator of First Year Programs at Lee, opened Pack ‘n’ Stack by congratulating the students for a successful first semester at Lee and introducing Santa and Mrs. Claus, who were available for pictures during the event. Participants also heard from Edouard Ndecky, who received an OCC shoebox as a child growing up in Senegal and encouraged the students as they prepared to pack their boxes. 

OCC Ndecky speakingDuring the week of Pack ‘n’ Stack, Ndecky spoke at a chapel service. His family was committed to ministry and was often only able to afford one meal per day, slept on floors, and worked many side jobs to make ends meet. When he was 14, he received his OCC box, complete with a bar of soap, a toothbrush, and a yo-yo. During the service, Ndecky explained how the box changed his life as it opened the door for him to grow in his faith and share that faith with everyone around him. 

“Lee’s First Year Programs and Gateway classes love partnering with the Operation Christmas Child organization for our final service project of the year,” said Roberts. “It has become a tradition for freshmen students to gather to provide hope and the love of Christ through the simple packing of a shoebox filled with goodies. The energy and excitement cannot be contained as new students gather to celebrate this joyous occasion.” 

The mission of Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child is to fill as many shoebox-sized boxes as possible with Christmas gifts to be distributed to children in need around the world. 

For more information about Operation Christmas Child, visit

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