Friday, April 24, 2015

Small boxes, huge heart: Woodland girl celebrates birthday by giving to children in need

Emily DeLacey collected more than 800 gifts at her recent "un-birthday" party, which will be packed into shoeboxes and shipped to children around the world through Operation Christmas Child. Courtesy photo

From page A1 | November 23, 2012 |

By Hiedi Andersen

WOODLAND — Books, lip balm, markers, sunglasses, shoes and toys sound like the fantastic end to any tween’s birthday party.

But for Woodlander Emily DeLacey, the table piled high with playing cards, socks, colored pencils and bouncy balls at her recent “almost” birthday party was just the start of a huge collection of items she requested, but not for herself. Instead, the request was on behalf of the thousands of children throughout the world in desperate situations.

Instead of asking for gifts for herself, Emily, a fifth-grade student at Woodland Christian School, requested that guests at her 11th “un-birthday” party bring small items that would fit into shoeboxes as part of Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international Christian relief organization.

“This is my sixth year packing boxes for children around the world,” said Emily, whose actual birthday falls so close to Thanksgiving that she decided to celebrate a few weeks early so friends could join in her philanthropic plans.

“It makes my heart happy when I think about the smiles on a child’s face when they open their boxes and find what I have packed for them,” she said.

Emily learned about Operation Christmas Child through school and her Girl Scout troop, No. 1416, which has packed boxes several times. Over the years, the girls in Emily’s troop have collected hundreds of items that some children do not have access to, such as toothpaste, soap, socks, toothbrushes, washcloths and hair brushes.

The special gifts are packaged in shoeboxes and delivered to 97 countries, including Ghana, Madagascar, Romania and Papua New Guinea.

“When I pack a shoebox, I imagine what the child’s face will look like and how excited he or she feels,” Emily said.

Last year, about 8.2 million shoeboxes were prepared worldwide, with more than 5.5 milllion shoeboxes filled in the United States. Emily’s “gifts” from her party will fill dozens of boxes as the 2012 OCC campaign swings into high gear.

The boxes Emily packs will include precious commodities for those in need. Her party netted her more than 800 gifts, including notebooks, coloring books and crayons, toys, pencils, markers, toothpaste and toothbrushes, decks of cards, shirts, hair brushes, socks, bracelets, lip balm, erasers, bouncy balls, hair accessories, washcloths and soaps.

“I feel so kind giving a shoebox to children around the world,” Emily said.

Operation Christmas Child began in 1990 in Wales, and was adopted by Samaritan’s Purse in 1993. Since then, more than 86 million shoebox gifts for needy children have been distributed. Some of the children who have benefited include young earthquake and cholera victims in Haiti; those affected by earthquakes in China; kids in the war-torn Republic of Georgia; schoolchildren attacked by terrorists in Besland, Russia; war orphans in Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia and Rwanda; and young survivors of the tsunami in Southeast Asia.

“One of the things that makes Operation Christmas Child so special is its emphasis on kids helping kids,” states the Samaritan’s Purse OCC web page. “This project provides a simple, tangible way for children and teenagers to join adults in sharing the joy of giving to children around the world at Christmas.”

Emily’s OCC party will help Samaritan’s Purse move closer to its 2012 goal of delivering more than 100 million boxes. Each year, Samaritan’s Purse receives gifts from Canada, Australia, Austria, Finland, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Each of the boxes will be hand-delivered by Samaritan’s Purse and its national partners via bus, train, helicopter, boat, elephant, mule and even dog sled. With tracking technology, Emily and other donors will be able to find out exactly what country’s children have benefited from their generosity.

To learn more about Operation Christmas Child, visit



Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery



    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5



    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12





    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery



    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery



    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4



    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5