23ABC Community Connection


Kern County community is giving back to those less fortunate through 'Operation Christmas Child'

Posted at 11:57 PM, Nov 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 02:57:38-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Many groups are coming together this season to give less fortunate families a joyful holiday. It's a project called 'Operation Christmas Child' and it gives those in our community a chance to give back this holiday season by taking those old shoe boxes like this one you might have around the house and filling them with holiday cheer.

“We’re pretty much from fortunate house holds and stuff so we don’t really get to see what happens in parts of the world where they don’t get Christmas presents and it’s good to know that we can give some children some joy that don’t have it,” Volunteer Daniel Howard said.

From drop off, to packing, and loading the truck, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church volunteers contributed in ensuring kids around the world wake up to presents on Christmas morning.

“Operation Christmas Child is a shoe box ministry, we don’t necessarily give out shoes but we do take those empty shoe boxes and we fill them with hygiene items, school supplies, toys, scarves, socks, shoes if we can, and then they’re dropped off at different drop-off locations around Kern County, they get put into cartons and logged and put on a truck and then they go down to Orange County to the processing center in Fullerton and once they are sorted by age and gender then they get onto cargo ships, cargo planes, and they travel all around the world,” Eryn Urban said.

Central drop-off team leader Eryn Urban says Kern County participated in the project for more than 20 years and as each year passes, continues to make a bigger impact.

“I can tell you that our first trailer went out on Friday it carried 5,357 shoe boxes,” Urban said.

The county is just a small part of a larger operation.

“It’s not just the U.S. that does this, it’s Australia several countries in Europe, Great Britain, Canada, its not just us but worldwide, I know that there were over 9 million children touched last year,” Urban said.

Urban says she is grateful to have the opportunity to give back and encourages anyone to donate what they can to help.

“Its just so fulfilling every year that we’re able to give a gift to a child that has never received a gift before and not only are we touching them that way but then we’re also touching them with gods love,” Urban said.

If you're interested in donating to Operation Christmas Child, donations are being accepted until 6pm Monday at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. If you aren't able to donate in person, you can visit samaritanspurse.org to build a box online to be sent to the organization.