Recent Event Mimics Assembly Line at Santa’s Workshop

4-H Operation Christmas Child 2014

Members of the UT Institute of Agriculture Collegiate 4-H Club form an assembly line for gift boxes for Operation Christmas Child 2014. Photo courtesy UTIA.

Collegiate 4-Hers on the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture campus collected and assembled more than 500 boxes for the international relief effort “Operation Christmas Child” this holiday season. The students collected items throughout the year, including dental supplies, clothing, school supplies and toys, and held a packing party to stuff the goodies into boxes for recipients. The 4-Hers call it ‘service without borders.’

“Part of our pledge is ‘my club, my community, my country and my world,’ and this definitely reaches out to the world side of our service,” says UT 4-Her Jennie Clark.

UT 4-Her Kayela Statom says to hear that a child in another country gets excited about a toothbrush, puts things in perspective. “Definitely because it makes me realize how blessed I am, getting to go home to my family, and they don’t even have any of that,” Kayela says.

“What we would consider insignificant or minuscule type items mean so much to other people,” says State 4-H Specialist Lori Gallimore. “It’s everything from a bar of soap to a toothbrush to even just kind words written on a note—that really make a difference and impact upon the lives of children around the world.”

4-H teaches the importance of service learning projects to all ages, but it’s really emphasized in the college years. These young people do charitable work throughout the year, and they also mentor to younger 4-Hers. James Swart has been involved with collegiate 4-H and Operation Christmas Child his two plus years on campus. “Once you get to the collegiate level with 4-H, we’re one hundred percent focused on service. This year we’ve been aiming to do one to two service projects in the Knoxville area per month,” Swart says.

4-Hers of all ages in Tennessee are involved with Operation Christmas Child. Across the state, Tennessee 4-H has a goal of collecting 3,000 boxes for this cause – a goal the organization reached last year.

4-H is the youth development program for UT Extension. 4-H teaches leadership, citizenship and service learning to more than 180,000 youth in the fourth through twelfth grades and has a collegiate chapter on the campus of the UT Institute of Agriculture.  In Tennessee, 4-H also has more than 5,000 adult volunteers.

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the UT Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.



Chuck Denney, UTIA Marketing and Communications, 865-974-7141,