DOBSON — A local softball team provided 22 boxes of gifts for needy children as part of Operation Christmas Child.
The Surry Community College team made an impact far beyond the softball field with its third-straight year participating in the holiday gift program.
A campaign in which small shoe boxes are filled with toys, school supplies, personal items and other small gifts, Operation Christmas Child distributes these boxes to less fortunate children in more than 100 countries. As a Christian organization, Operation Christmas Child also strives to teach children about the love of God.
“It’s something we have done in the past, and the girls enjoy doing it,” said SCC softball coach Blaine Bullington.
“We asked them if they wanted to try something else, and this is what they wanted, which is fantastic. They just jumped right in it. We have 16 girls on our team, but they turned in 22 boxes. They love going out and finding things for that age group, and they did a fantastic job. It’s fun for them, but we also know it is going for a worthy cause.”
Bullington said the Knights’ involvement with Operation Christmas Child began three years ago with former player Sarah Scott, an East Surry graduate who is now a senior at Piedmont Bible College. Scott is still involved with the Knights, as she takes the team’s contributions with her to a distribution center in Charlotte each year.
One of Surry’s newest players, freshman Erynne Chalk from Hickory, is carrying on Scott’s love for the Operation Christmas Child program. Chalk put together four boxes of her own this year as part of the program. It’s something the Fred T. Foard graduate has been doing for the past several years with her mother, Julie Chalk.
“Every year, my mom and I take them to different places depending on our schedules. She takes them to a church back home or the local Chick-fil-A, and we try to do boxes for two boys and boxes for two girls each year,” Erynne said. “It’s exciting watching some of the videos online of the kids opening their gifts. It’s amazing to see the looks on their faces and how happy they are to get the littlest of things.
“Compared to what I get for Christmas and seeing the less fortunate people, it makes me feel grateful for what I have and what my parents provide me with.”
Bullington said participating in Operation Christmas Child is a great experience for the players. Not only does it provide a bonding opportunity for incoming freshmen with the Knights’ sophomores, it also affords them the chance to learn the importance of giving.
“They enjoy the opportunity to play softball, but they are fortunate to have that. And for us as a team, we need to give back any way we can,” Bullington said. “They take this and they love to do it. It is our duty to do good things and perform good work. Softball is great and they love to play, but there is a whole lot more to life than just softball.”
Surry Community College opens the softball season Feb. 6 at Guilford College. The Knights will host their home openers Feb. 13-14 in Dobson against USC-Sumter.
Last spring, the team made its first appearance in the College World Series.