Students at Duran South Junior High are learning that it’s better to give than to receive this holiday season.

Over the past weeks, students have been challenged to bring coloring books, toys and personal hygiene products to their homeroom for donations to Operation Christmas Child.

Operated through the Samaritan’s Purse  International Relief, the project provides shoeboxes full of miscellaneous items for Christmas presents to children all over the world. Classrooms at Duran South have participated in the previous two years, but this is the first year the entire school has participated.

With the children’s donations added to toys donated by local businesses, the boxes will provide a very merry Christmas to children who might not have received anything to start with.

“It’s really a neat opportunity for our kids to be able to give back,” said Duran South Junior High teacher Sue Bliss. “We are so blessed in this country that we overlook what we have sometimes. This is our opportunity to give back to people less fortunate. Our kids know they’re getting something for Christmas. The kids that get these boxes don’t.”

Combined with a handful of boxes created at Iola Roberts Elementary, the schools hope to prepare a total of 225 gift boxes for children around the world.

After being packaged, Hardin’s Chapel Bible Church in Ragland will transport the boxes to a distribution center in Atlanta and pay the $7 per box shipping.

While the toys and treats are going to other children, Pell City youngsters are enjoying the process of getting the boxes ready to go.

“The kids love it. There are some that are driven and really want to participate and some that just don’t, but when they see the end product, those children really wish they would have brought something,” Bliss said.

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