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EventMobi’s 150 Days of Action: Adam’s Volunteer Story With Operation Christmas Child

On July 1st, 2017, EventMobi kicked off a new company-wide volunteer program called 150 Days of Action. The initiative is our way of celebrating Canada’s 150th milestone anniversary by giving back to the community through volunteering, and to inspire our employees, i.e. Mobiers, to be helpful and empathetic — two key values that are at the core of our company and part of Canadian culture.

The EventMobi 150 Days of Action program empowers Mobiers to pursue volunteer experiences they care about, and share reflections on what they learned. The target is to contribute 150 company days to volunteering, and we’re well on our way to achieving this!

Adam King is EventMobi’s marketing web developer and shares his experience volunteering for Operation Christmas Child.

Adam’s 150 Days of Action Volunteer Experience

During the peak of the holiday season, I drove out to the Operation Christmas Child Gift Box processing facility Samaritan’s Purse had set up in an empty factory building in Woodstock, Ontario.

Adam lifts a box of gift shoeboxes onto a stack
Adam lifts a gift-packed box of 24 shoeboxes onto a stack

What is Operation Christmas Child?

Operation Christmas Child is an annual gift-giving project for children suffering as a result of war, poverty, famine, disease, or disaster. Each year, millions of shoeboxes are packed with gifts from people all over the world, including Canada and nine other countries, and given to children in more than 100 “receiving” countries.

For years, my family has packed shoeboxes full of toys, school and hygiene supplies, and other useful items, which we then dropped off to a depot. Despite this, I never thought much about how the next step of the project happened. Who was sorting through the boxes, making sure the items inside were appropriate for the kid who would be receiving them, and packing those vetted shoeboxes into containers to be shipped across the world? It turns out, it’s people like me.

Every year there’s a processing center set up somewhere in southern Ontario where hundreds of volunteers come out — some as individuals and many as groups — and do this vital work to get all those gifts out to kids around the world on time for Christmas.

Volunteers packing shoeboxes
Volunteers inspected shoeboxes and then sent them down rollers to the packing area

 

The Role

Most volunteers sorting through individual boxes, making sure there are no violent/military themed items, sharp objects, liquid, and that the items are age appropriate. I was one of a relatively small group to say they were OK with heavy lifting, so I got drafted into the “packing” team. I constructed big cardboard boxes, labeled them for the appropriate age/gender group (“girls 2-5”, “boys 10-14”), filled them with shoeboxes, taped the boxes up, stacked them onto skids, and moved those skids over into a warehousing area.

Shoeboxes getting packed into large boxes for shipping
Shoeboxes getting packed into large cardboard boxes for shipping

The Impact

Having grown up in a very poor part of the world (Bangladesh), I know how much joy even small gifts can give to kids who don’t have much, and shoeboxes like these are a treasure trove!

Each shift was packing between 4,000 and 10,000 boxes — and I was there for weekday shifts, which aren’t nearly as well attended as evening and weekend shifts! At the a couple points during the shifts, they stopped work for a few minutes and showed short videos to the whole factory floor of interviews with kids who got particularly impactful gifts, highlighting how big a difference even something insignificant to us like a set of pencils can totally change the life of a kid whose family can’t afford basic school supplies.

Additionally, this year the special project is to send at least 20,000 shoeboxes to the parts of Ukraine hardest hit by the recent conflict with Russia (on top of Operation Christmas Child’s normal gift distribution operations all over the world.)

I’m incredibly grateful that EventMobi encourages its employees to give big chunks of volunteer time towards initiatives we each care about. I found it not just rewarding, but invigorating and mentally refreshing, and I came back with an increased sense of pride in the company I work for and the effect we can all have on our world if we all just pitch in wherever we can.

Want to read more about EventMobi’s 150 Days of Action initiative?

 

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