On November 17th, a normally empty James Commons was filled with empty shoe boxes, toys, school supplies, crayons and basic essentials like toothbrushes and soap, as well as students who eagerly worked to make Christmas special for children across the globe whom they’ll never meet.
This holiday season Le Moyne’s chapter of Brothers and Sisters in Christ (B.A.S.I.C.) put on an event called “Operation Christmas Child” in which participants pack gift boxes and send them across the world to children in need. “'Operation Christmas Child' is a project by Samaritan’s Purse in which they distribute gifts across some of the world’s poorest regions and with that they spread the faith by going through churches for distribution. So they do come with a faith presence, but it’s really about making a child’s day great when they may not have had many great days,” says Gabrielle Bruscia ‘18, the club’s president.
Bruscia and fellow members created this club just under a year ago and this was their first major event of the year. “The success of the event itself was really cool,” she says. “It brings people together because you are all doing the same thing for the same cause. You get to have an impact on kid’s lives that you will never meet and never know but you do get to know that you made a difference for someone.”
“We had 200 boxes filled and ready to send in about an hour. The turnout was much greater than we expected and that really warmed my heart.”
While B.A.S.I.C. members ran the event, several other campus clubs and students joined in on the effort and made it possible. “To see the Le Moyne community get together to give back to needy kids across the world was unreal for me. To be able to send them all shoeboxes with what is likely their first gift was such a great experience.”
When Bruscia and fellow club members first conceived the idea of having a B.A.S.I.C. chapter on the Le Moyne campus, completing a rewarding service project was a major goal for the club. “'Operation Christmas Child' was not just our community service project this year but it was something I really wanted to put on for a while now,” says Bruscia. “It’s amazing to see that our hard work payed off and also that so many people had fun while they were helping others that they owe nothing to was just fantastic to be a part of.”
While B.A.S.I.C. has a Christian foundation, it is essentially non-denominational. Le Moyne’s chapter seeks to complement the Jesuit values of service and leadership for others. “One Jesuit value we hold is the idea of being men and women for others. That’s one of the biggest things that B.A.S.I.C. aligns with regarding the Jesuit values of giving back and helping the community. In B.A.S.I.C., we really want people to feel like a family and to give people a place to come and feel accepted, but also go out and serve in the community.”
Having the event go so well, Bruscia and B.A.S.I.C. were pleased but won’t stop at just one successful night. “Our next goal for B.A.S.I.C. is to make it an annual event here at Le Moyne. The support was so vast that I definitely think people would do this again and again every year.”
Article by Dominic P. Uliano IV '18. Dominic is interning with the Offices of Communications and Advancement this semester.