"We've got to do something . . ."
Sally Voelkert is the Guidance Counselor at Archdale Elementary School in Archdale, NC. Part of Sally's job is to get support for families of the children at her school who are in dire situations. Along with the staff of Archdale Elementary Sally asks the parents of these students for a suggestion for a gift item so that Archdale can provide a small Christmas present for children who would otherwise have nothing to open on Christmas morning.
Starting in 2007 for the first time in her 25 years of working as a counselor Sally began to get requests that absolutely broke her heart. The parents of many of her students were asking for food for Christmas. When she began to dig deeper into the requests she found that several of the families had no food at home. Many of these children were getting their only meal at school each day. When Sally asked the children what they wanted for Christmas many of them replied "I hope we get some food so my family can have somethign to eat" or "I hope mommy and daddy get a job for Christmas. We don't get to eat at home much any more".
Because she loves the kids at her school so much Sally was devistated. Appealing to the food pantry at C.O.A.T for help she found that they too were always running out of food as supply was exceed by demand daily. Turning to her strong faith Sally began to pray for a solution. Sharing the dilema with her husband David they talked, cried and prayed for hours looking for a way to help. "We've got to do something. We can't just let these families be hungry and not do something. We've got to do SOMETHING. Anything."
Sally and David decided to use one of the few tools they had at their disposal to try and make a difference. David played in a Beach / Motown band called Soul Biscuit. He approached the members of the band and they were immediately eager to help, so the Operation Christmas Star charity and benefit concert were born.
The staff at Archdale Elementary also quickly rallied behind the grass roots effort. At the end of the first concert and food drive the school collected almost 800 cans of food and 25 Food Lion gift cards that helped to feed the families in need that year. Although the first effort was a success the needs of families is growing at an alarming rate and OCS continues to need the support of the entire Archdale - Trinity area.
Why is it named Operation Christmas Star?
David and Sally have a strong Christian faith. On the night that Jesus was born the Bethlehem star lit the sky not only to lead the wise men to the manger but to boldly announce that hope had come into the world to save all mankind, regardless of race, creed, religion, gender or social / economic status. One all embracing love for human kind to give eternal hope and promise.
It is our desire that Operation Christmas Star will also give a small glimmer of hope to those needing the promise that someone will love them and share our blessings with them. Help Operation Christmas Star give love and hope this Christmas and all year long.