While most teenagers were making their Christmas list and anticipating the end of the fall semester, Andy Jones, a junior at Heritage Christian Academy in McCalla, Alabama, was spending time in Charlotte, NC as a volunteer for Samaritan’s Purse. When asked why he chose to volunteer with this organization, Andy said, “It was an ideal thing to go and do during Christmas, and I just really felt led to help this operation because there are so many kids that do not get a Christmas all around the world.” Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid around the world through several different ministries including the annual Operation Christmas Child.
These bright red and green shoeboxes are packed by church members, civic organizations, and individuals across the country with toys, basic clothing items, and toiletries which are then shipped around the world to children that would otherwise wake up on Christmas morning with no presents to brighten their day. It takes thousands of volunteers to sort, pack, and ship these boxes at the many distribution centers, including the center in Charlotte. According to their website, “Every hour work stops for a few minutes to pray for the children who will receive the boxes.”
Andy became involved with this outreach effort through his home church, Grace Life Baptist Church in McCalla. Grace Life has made this volunteer opportunity an annual event for church members and it was Andy’s pleasure to join the efforts in December 2020. “The experience of the trip was amazing! Out of the three days we were there, I think a total of 50,000 or more boxes were sent out to 3 different countries. It was also cool to meet the other people that came to volunteer as well,” Andy added. The mission of Heritage is to assist Christian parents in their responsibility to equip their children for life through academics and service to Christ. This young man is a shining example of servanthood and representing his faith, his church, and his school by sacrificing his time to bring joy and hope to others.
This experience made a lasting impression on Andy and this will most certainly not be his last time serving with Samaritan’s Purse. If this impactful experience sounds like something you would like to experience, take it from Andy, “I would say please do it. It’s worth all your time and every penny. It is one of the best experiences of my life.”