Lee University Students Celebrate Christmas at Appalachia Dream Center

By , December 15, 2003

During the week of October 9-14, 2003, Lee University held a student led toy drive for Operation Compassion’s Appalachia Dream Center in Holden, WV. When the toy drive had concluded more than 900 brand new toys had been collected from the student body. Throughout the toy drive, the social service club Sigma Nu Sigma led the way by coordinating toy drop offs across the Lee Campus.As part of their commitment to the toy drive, the men of Alpha Gamma Chi and the ladies of Sigma Nu Sigma wanted to sponsor a Christmas party for the children of Appalachia. In preparation for the Christmas Party in Appalachia in December, the men of Chi decided to visit ADC in November.

During their three day weekend at the Appalachia Dream Center, the men of Chi unloaded a truck full of clothes and cleaning supplies, cleaned the loading dock, stacked pallets, swept, mopped and generally cleaned inside and out. Their work was much needed in preparation for several groups that sponsor Christmas events for the communities served by ADC.

The men of Chi were able to visit many in the communities around ADC and shared in the Sunday morning worship services at the Verndunville Church of God. When the young men returned to the Lee Campus, they were tired but enthused and overwhelmed by what they had seen, heard and participated. One member of Chi said, “It was a life changing experience! I will never forget what I saw and the people I met.”

In fulfilling their commitment, the ladies of Sigma left the confines of Lee University early on the morning of December 11th for their whirlwind forty-eight hour ADC Christmas party. When the ladies of Sigma arrived at ADC, there were 100 boxes loaded with toys waiting for them to sort through. By the time the children started to arrive, the ladies of Sigma had transformed the dining hall into a Christmas wonderland filled with decorations, food, games and fun.

For the better part of two hours, these young women entertained, loved and petted more than 90 children. Every child had a story that would melt the hardest of hearts and patiently the ladies would visit with each child, helping them make the toy selections. By the time the last child was finished, all of the toys were distributed and most all the children had received 10 toys each!

For children expecting very little in the way of Christmas cheer, the ladies of Sigma delivered a Christmas that will be remembered for the rest of those children’s lives. The children were so excited! However, so were the staff of ADC and the ladies of Sigma. Tears were mixed with laughter throughout the night as the ladies shared one story after another of their experiences.

Upon returning to the Lee Campus, the young ladies of Sigma were overwhelmed at the poverty they had witnessed. Several want to return next semester and stay longer. Others were planning different methods of helping ADC on a regular basis.

One young woman said, “Pastor Mike and his staff are special people. The love and care for people that most others would pass on. I will never forget and they will always be in my prayers.” Another young woman stated, “Nothing in my life will be the same. I will look at everything differently because of my trip.”

David Lorency, International Field Director, Operation Compassion stated, “When the students from Lee first approached Operation Compassion about this project, I thought we might receive 75 to 100 toys. Never did I expect such an overwhelming participation from college students. Their commitment to this project from start to finish is impressive.”

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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