Airmen to spread holiday spirit at Korean orphanages
12/10/2012 - OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Airmen at Osan Air Base are giving back for the holidays to ensure children in local orphanages receive a little bit of holiday cheer.
Approximately 500 volunteers will be visiting more than 20 local orphanages as part of Operation Christmas Hope, an event focused on the spirit of giving.
"We are hoping that through Operation Christmas Hope more than 2,000 children living in Korean orphanages will receive one of our gifts," said Chaplain (Capt.) David Suh, 51st Fighter Wing chaplain.
Suh also hopes this event will further strengthen the bond with the Korean community and raise moral and holiday joy through those contributing.
Volunteers will be visiting the Pyeongtaek, Osan, and Suwon areas Dec. 22 to give a gift to each child that will include a holiday card, written in both English and Hangul, and a $25 gift certificate to E-Mart so the children can buy what they need, such as gloves or blankets.
"Nearly 90 percent of Osan Airmen are unaccompanied," Suh said. "This gives them an opportunity to participate in such a large community outreach event."
The Operation Christmas Hope committee also hopes to raise enough money to buy general gifts for the orphanages in need, explained Suh. Quality of life items including washing machines and tents for children to play outside are items the chapel is interested in giving but the chapel has yet to reach their goal.
Individuals, units, professional and private organizations, as well as base and community groups have donated money so far and are still working to get what they need.
"I am really excited to be involved in Operation Christmas Hope," said Capt. Sarah Thompson, 7th Air Force plans and management personnel. "I was in an orphanage in the city of Andong here in Korea before I was adopted. This is a way for me to give back."
On the day of the event, 500 volunteers will meet at the base theater to be briefed before being assigned to their bus. Once loaded, the 10-13 buses will depart to the different orphanages throughout the area. The participants will deliver the gifts, sing Christmas carols and offer prayer.
Donations and volunteer signup are being accepted through unit and squadron first sergeants and the Osan Chapel. For more information on Operation Christmas Hope call the chapel at 784-5000 or sign up by emailing the Osan Chapel Org box at 51FWHCCombatCatch@us.af.mil.
"I truly believe in the generosity of our American people," Suh said. "During this holiday season we want to share the spirit of giving to those who are less fortunate than us. In return, we will realize it is far better and more blessed to give than to receive."