The atmosphere in the dining hall was electric with enthusiasm during chapel time this morning as students came together to bless unknown children around the world with a tangible message of Christmas. Frank Sinatra crooned about a White Christmas in the backgrounds as students juggled cups of hot chocolate and collected empty shoeboxes to fill.  It was an Operation Christmas Child packing party at HLA.

Several long line at the front door offered stations where students could paint the palms of their hands and press them against notecards that read, “This is my hand. When you place your hand on mine, think about me. I am praying for you, as you receive this box.” Students added personal notes of their own and included this note in their boxes.

The students carried their boxes from table to table throughout the cafeteria choosing from a selection of stuffed toys and dolls, plastic animals, kazoos, crayons, markers, pencils, T-shirts, toothbrushes, combs, soap and washcloths, hats, and candy. Gifts were lovingly loaded into age/gender appropriate boxes topped with a personal note, and loaded into a larger carton for shipment to central collection stations. All total, Hillcrest assembled 113 boxes that will eventually join 12 million others to be distributed to needy children in 100 countries around the world. What a delight it is to give--Joy to the World! Prepare Him Room.

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