Operation Christmas 2019


Members of the Key Club gathered after school to pack boxes for Operation Christmas Child Photo Credit: Mrs. Alison Mead

Emma McCarthy, Connect Editor

Gators love giving back! Key Club,  Xavier College Preparatory’s organization that focuses on service opportunities for high school students, is providing holiday joy for those in need this Christmas season. The high-achieving club is led by President Camy Rael ‘20 and moderators Mrs. Alison Mead and Mrs. Lisa Verghese (Senior AP English teacher and Freshman English teacher, respectively), Ms. Gina Nuñez (Freshman AP World History teacher), Mrs. Leslie Eckland (Director of Finance), Ms. Alexis Gonzalez (Guidance Counselor), and Ms. Remi Fitzgerald (Librarian). Along with a team of officers, the club helps Xavier students find service to be done in the community and encourages learning through service. Helping others is important all year round, which is why Key Club is such a vital club to the Xavier community. Service during the holiday season is especially noticeable, as society can is sometimes quite materialistic about gifts and money around Christmas time. 

This year, Key Club worked to help those in need through Operation Christmas Child. A project from the larger service and relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, the group strives to deliver Christmas joy and the love of God through hand-packed shoeboxes of small gifts for children in countries affected by devastating issues. Key Club started its work with the organization last year, after finding out about it through a Xavier parent. The club asked Xavier students and members of the club to donate little items to be packed into shoeboxes, such as stuffed animals, dolls, crafts and activities, clothing, and more!. Last year, they made 70 shoeboxes and this year they assembled over an outstanding 120! The club gathered after school to pack them with care. They even went as far as writing notes in each box, making each one unique. Mrs. Mead heard from a program organizer that, “When children open the boxes sometimes they say I wish I knew who packed this for me because I want to hug them. It’s sometimes their only gift.” This inspired them to make the boxes more personal and show the children that they were packed with love. These activities united the members because they were all working together towards a common cause. As Camy Rael says, “Operation Christmas Child is an amazing way to bring the club together during the holiday season, and we are able to spread the joy of christmas to deserving children living in disadvantaged communities.” 

However, working with Operation Christmas Child isn’t the only thing Key Club is doing to help others this December! The annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Xavier is hosted by Key Club, and once the trees are decorated by each class’s student council, Key Club donates them to St. Vincent De Paul. St. Vincent De Paul is a non-profit service society who takes those decorated trees and gives them to families in need. There, these trees can provide holiday joy to those who might not have as much. They are also writing Christmas cards filled with love and prayers for children currently admitted at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. While service is important during the holidays, it’s important all year long. Mrs. Mead shared her feelings on service, saying “I think the holiday season seems to highlight more opportunities, but we are a year round club and we give back all year round.” Key Club is contributing to the world in incredible, impactful ways, and they are doing a fantastic job!