The Hunger Games: where the colorful and lavish people of the Capital visit the humble Districts each year to pick children to destroy their lives in an effort at oppression.
Now imagine a sort of reverse Hunger Games scenario—a happy Reaping Day–where when the people of the Capital come to your District each year they children… to change their lives for the better.
Volunteering with Operation Christmas Child, I often imagine this is how we appear.
Each year Operation Christmas Child sends out hundreds of thousands of small boxes filled with gifts to some of the most remote and impoverished areas in the world. Last year a colleague of mine travelled to Burkina Faso—the 3rd poorest country in Africa–to help distribute gifts to the children. These are children whose ways of life are pretty unimaginable to us—“showering” by using a washcloth tied to a laundry line, wearing broken, worn away flip flops for YEARS if wearing shoes at all, not attending class in the broken down school room because they don’t own a single pencil. But each year, in a reverse Hunger Games Reaping scenario, children are chosen to receive their very own shoe box filled with little treasures.
“Stuffed animals are my favorite,” sad Mrs. Pilon who not only coordinates Operation Christmas Child, but travelled to Burkino Fauso to help distribute boxes. “Many of the children come from areas with lots of diseases and epidemics and are orphans. Having something to hug is so very important for them.” Her husband, Dr. Pilon, who travelled with her to Burkino Fauso, recounts the story of giving a box to a little girl with broken flip flops held together with string. Inside the box happened to be a shiny new pair of pink flip flops. In a story reminiscent to Cinderella, he helped her slip on her new shoes and they fit perfectly.
Instead of the whole District somberly coming out to meet the people of the Capital whose lives are so different from their own, entire towns come out to celebrate with the volunteers of Operation Christmas Child, who must seem just as unimaginable to them. People play music and dance in the dirt path ‘streets’ as the pre-selected children are given their very own gift. The first, and possibly only, material gift they’ll ever receive in their lives.
These are small children, often orphans, living in the depths of poverty—little food, no running water, no electricity and no sense of magic that the holidays bring. These children have NEVER received a present of this kind before; never had the opportunity to sense the excitement of tearing into a brightly wrapped box to find something special just for them. Birthdays and holidays pass by year after year without notice. But, if they’re lucky they will receive ONE gift in their ENTIRE life…and that gift could come from YOU.
Getting involved is as easy as clicking on the link below to donate money or to virtually build your own box to send to a child. Or you can have the fun of personally shopping, filling up a box, and dropping it off at a drop off center. You can choose to fill up a shoe box for a boy or girl and pick an age range. Simple items such as wash clothes, toothbrushes, soap, school supplies, flip flops, and little toys are always much appreciated.
For more info or to help, click here.