Lee University Sponsors Toy Drive for Operation Compassion

By , October 22, 2003

During the summer months away from the busy schedule of campus life, one young lady, Lisa McCuan, began to pray for direction to impact the life of the Lee University campus. The only thing Lisa had was a scripture from Isaiah 58. Upon returning to campus for the fall semester, Lisa was talking with another student who kept mentioning Operation Compassion. Every time these two Lee students would get together Operation Compassion ultimately would permeate the conversation.
Finally, one day Lisa asked Becky Burdashaw why she spoke of Operation Compassion. When Becky explained her parents worked for Operation Compassion, Lisa wanted to know more. A few days later, Lisa and Becky came by the office and Lisa was formally introduced to Operation Compassion. Lisa was given the tour of our facilities and was given an informational packet. Then, all of a sudden, Lisa shouted and got so excited. Lisa had seen a picture of a little El Salvadoran girl with a scripture reference on the bottom. That scripture was the same Lisa had been holding on to since the summer.

At first, Lisa and Becky was going to present the toy drive as a project of Sigma Nu Sigma, a Greek social service club at Lee University. However, as the news spread among the fifty members of Sigma, other Greek Clubs wanted to become involved. Before they knew it, all of the Greek social service clubs on campus was actively involved. Then, the choirs asked it they could get involved.

As the toy drive began to snowball, the spiritual life clubs, academic clubs, diversity clubs and the dorms all had representatives at a special organization meeting. The entire Lee University campus had signed on to buy brand new toys for underprivileged children!

As the project grew, faculty and administration were consulted on the best way to handle this toy drive. Mr. Michael Hayes, Director of Student Development, led the way as he directed the students to the necessary staff persons. Dr. Jimmy Harper, Campus Pastor/Director of Campus Ministries, opened a chapel for the students to present the toy drive to the entire faculty and student body. Chief Donald Williams, Director of Campus Safety, provided a parking area for the Operation Compassion semi truck in a prominent campus location. Dr. Walt Mauldin, Vice President for Student Life, gave his support by giving the administrative sanction to the activities and setting one week aside on the campus calendar to conduct this campus wide event.

The week of October 9-14, 2003 was designated as Lee University’s Christmas Toy Drive, Delivering Hope One Toy at a Time. Operation Compassion set up a booth in the Paul Conn Student Union, manned by students from 8: 00 am until 5:00 pm every day. Throughout the week students began bringing toys one at a time then by the box full. By the end of the four-day fall break week, fifty-six boxes full of brand new toys of every imaginable kind had been collected. In addition, the clubs had collected several hundred dollars in donations from individual students, clubs and campus organizations to be used to purchase toys for the drive. Many students went home for fall break with the idea of involving their local churches, youth groups and parents and returning with more toys and financial donations.

While this first ever campus wide toy drive proved to be an overwhelming success, this toy drive is only the beginning. December 12-14, 2003 is the weekend that Lisa, Becky and twenty other students will descend upon the Appalachian Dream Center in Holden, WV for a Christmas Party and will present all the new toys to the children living in the hollers and mountains in that area. Operation Compassion has selected the Appalachian Dream Center to be the recipient of the generosity of these outstanding students.

“This is a first for Operation Compassion! We have never asked students to get involved at this level, yet seeing young men and women so excited about helping children they have never meet is overwhelming,” stated David Lorency, International Field Director, Operation Compassion.

The majority of the students that participated in this toy drive will never have the opportunity to meet the children living abstract poverty in the Appalachian region. However, they will be forever linked by Christmas 2003, the vision of one university student and Isaiah 58:7 and 8 . . .

7 “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 “Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Anyone interested in supporting financially, donating products or providing a corporate lead may contact:

Operation Compassion
Dr. John D. Nichols, President
David Lorency, International Field Director
Tim Burdashaw, Communications & Development

114 Stuart Road, NE Suite 370
Cleveland, TN 37312
423.728.3932 Office
423.728.3958 Fax

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