Ridgefield student organizes Operation Christmas Child to bring toys, supplies to kids across world

RIDGEFIELD — A Ridgefield High School senior is rallying community members to create boxes of goodies for children across the worldwide.

Sean O’Hara has brought the Operation Christmas Child initiative to Ridgefield again to pack shoeboxes for children during the holiday season. Operation Christmas Child delivers these packages — filled with small toys, hygienic products and school supplies — to local churches in different countries, which then find their way into the hands of children.

Last year, O’Hara collected more than 200 shoeboxes with the help of local families and organizations, as well as Tiger Sports, which is a pick-up/drop-off point for the project. His goal this year is to send 1,000 shoeboxes overseas.

“My family and I have (done) Operation Christmas Child … down in the Bronx with my cousin, (and) I thought it’d be good to bring it to Ridgefield during COVID and share it with everyone,” said O’Hara, 18. “These kids are victims of poverty, disaster, disease, famine. To receive the littlest things, (they’d) be so appreciative.”

Those interested can use their own shoebox, pick up an empty shoebox from Tiger Sports or O’Hara’s home, or have O’Hara drop one off at their home.

Participants can pack boxes for boys or girls between the ages of 2 and 14 with toys, personal hygiene products, school supplies, small articles of clothing and craft supplies. They can include a personal note to the child and track the shoebox once its mailed.

O’Hara is hosting a packing party at the Ridgefield Recreation Center from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6. Families can help O’Hara and his team pack additional boxes with items donated by community supporters.

“It would mean everything to a little kid to receive one of these shoeboxes after everything they’ve been through over the past few years,” he said. “We saw the great response we got last year and know we can increase the number this year.”

O’Hara is collecting donations and packed shoeboxes through Monday, Nov. 15.

For information or to request a box, email O’Hara at seanohara.occshoebox@gmail.com.