community service

Students packed 250 boxes for Operation Christmas Child

Our entire student body packed nearly 200 boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Our students donated all of the items they packed and created encouraging notes for  the children that will receive these gifts.

Operation Christmas Child is one of many outreach programs through Samaritan's Purse, a non-denomination Christian organization that gives aid to the world's poor, sick and suffering since 1970.

Our students from all grades brought in gifts such as toys, games, art supplies and hygiene items to pack into shoeboxes to mail to children in more than 100 countries. In less than an hour, the students selected from the donated items to pack 200 boxes, personalizing each for a boy or a girl in a specific age range.

The boxes are sent to a processing center where work stops each hour for a few minutes for volunteers to pray for the children who will receive the gifts.

Pastors around the world host shoebox distributions in places where people may not know Christ, according to Samaritan's Purse. "Other churches use the boxes as resources for outreach in orphanages and other at-risk areas. In many places, they also offer The Greatest Gift a Gospel story booklet Samaritan’s Purse developed for shoebox recipients." states the Samaritan's Purse website.


Students help feed 250 families with the Lancaster Holiday Food Drive

South Lancaster Academy students volunteered with the Greater Lancaster Holiday Gift Baskets and Food Drive this month to feed 253 families, encompassing 889 people.

This annual community event brings members of area churches and the school together to provide a week's worth of food for families in need. 

This is a well-coordinated undertaking that requires many steps. SLA students stapled notes on hundreds of grocery bags requesting people to fill the bags with nonperishable food. Then teams of area church members and Pathfinders delivered the bags to homes in Lancaster and Clinton.

The following week, the teams returned to the homes to collect the bags of donated food and brought them to the College Church. There they sorted the food, separating items that were expired and grouping similar food items together.

The next part takes the longest--packing boxes with enough food to feed each family for a week. An individual may get one box, whereas a family of six may get three larger boxes. SLA students helped in this step of packing the boxes and praying for the families receiving the food.

Many students also joined their churches and families in delivering the bags, collecting the food and sorting the donated items.

Each year, volunteers share stories of how the food multiplies and the expressions of gratitude from the recipients.

"When we ran out of an item, we found out that more than what we needed was already on the way to us," said Joyce Malin, one of the volunteer organizers. "Or when beans ran out, I knew more was coming on Sunday."

We're grateful our students have this opportunity to live out Matthew 25:35, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in."

Students praying in the Fellowship Hall at the College Church for the families that will receive these boxes of food.

Students praying in the Fellowship Hall at the College Church for the families that will receive these boxes of food.