DOBSON — During the week of Nov. 21-27, most Americans spent a majority of their time giving thanks. Surry Community College’s softball team took it a step further, celebrating Thanksgiving while also giving back to needy children all around the world.
For the fourth straight year, members of the Knights’ softball team participated in Operation Christmas Child. A Christian organization, Operation Christmas Child is a program in which shoeboxes are filled with toys, school supplies, personal items and other small gifts and distributed to less fortunate children in more than 100 countries across the world.
“It feels great honestly, but it is more of a blessing. I have never gone a Christmas without receiving anything and I don’t think anyone else should either,” said Surry sophomore infielder Brooke Bagwell, a first-team All-Region X softball player last season from Mooresville High School. “I enjoyed the whole activity, learning about the children and getting together as a team to put the boxes together. Honestly, after last year, I looked forward to it more than anything this year because it is fun and I just enjoyed the whole thing.”
SCC softball coach Blaine Bullington said Operation Christmas Child is a tremendous program and one he’s proud to see give his players so much enjoyment. On average, the team contributed more than two shoeboxes per player this year to the worthwhile cause.
“The girls really take it and just run with it. We had 14 girls and we ended up with 31 shoeboxes, which is just fantastic for our little group,” Bullington said. “The girls get excited about doing it.”
The Surry coach said he would love to also take part in a program that helps people a bit more on the local level, but said Franklin Graham and his ministry are doing great things with the Operation Christmas Child program.
“It’s something we look forward to doing every year,” Bullington said.
A freshman first baseman from Forbush High School, Kayla Shore has taken part in Operation Christmas Child with her church, Union Grove Baptist in Yadkinville, for several years. She takes it a step further each year, going to one of the program’s distribution centers in Boone. It’s an incredible feeling, she said.
“To pack two boxes myself and go there and see where it leads is a big experience for me. As far as packing the shoeboxes, I know several kids in my neighborhood that need support, so it is always good to give back,” Shore said. “There is nothing like seeing that light go off in those children’s eyes, which is why I am going to be a teacher.”
Sophomore Erynne Chalk and her family have been participating in Operation Christmas Child for as long as she can remember. A first-team All-Region X infielder from Fred T. Foard High School, Chalk and her family donated six shoeboxes to Operation Christmas Child this year.
“It feels good to make somebody else’s Christmas better. Kids here are getting tablets and things like this, but watching these videos, you make their day and it is exciting to know you are making a difference on a child’s Christmas,” Chalk said. “Operation Christmas Child is a great way for people to give back and it is not that hard to do.”
Bagwell agreed, encouraging folks who haven’t participated in Operation Christmas Child before to follow the lead of Surry’s softball team.
“I would recommend anyone to do Operation Christmas Child,” Bagwell said. “Around the holidays people need more help than usual and it feels great to give back.”
Surry Community College’s softball team is scheduled to open the season Feb. 16 against Montreat College in a doubleheader in Dobson. The twinbill is slated to begin at 1 p.m.