February 26, 2021

Operation Christmas Child: Madison Bollig’s Gifts Touch Lives Worldwide

Madison BolligIt’s amazing how many treasures you can pack in a shoebox. Just ask Madison Bollig, who sent 60 boxes filled with presents to needy children worldwide through Operation Christmas Child.

“It makes you feel good to help others, and it’s fun to get more people involved,” said Bollig, 17, a junior at North Union High School whose father, Joe Bollig, is a MaxYield Cooperative integrated solutions specialist.

Bollig first heard about Operation Christmas Child through The Market, a gift shop that her mother, Kelly Tigges, owns in Algona. One of Tigges’s customers collects unique gifts year-round to donate to Operation Christmas Child, a North Carolina-based Christian charity. The gifts are distributed to children up to age 14 in more than 100 countries, said Bollig, who shipped 36 boxes in 2011 when she first contributed to Operation Christmas Child.

“Now my whole 4-H club participates,” said Bollig, who is president of the Fenton Forwards 4-H Club, which boasts 36 members. “My friends outside of 4-H help, too, which is great.”

The journey of a shoebox

There are three different age groups that Operation Christmas Child serves. Bollig enjoys finding gifts for girls ranging from five to nine years old. She scours local discount stores and dollar stores for coloring books, hair accessories, toys, t-shirts, and more. To package her gifts, she purchases inexpensive shipping boxes online from Operation Christmas Child, which sends Bollig’s boxes around the globe.

These gifts mean the world to the children who receive them, noted Bollig, who sent 60 boxes in mid-November of 2012 to Operation Christmas Child. She has received thank-you letters from girls in Zambia who received her boxes in 2011.

Madison Bollig“Getting the letters was pretty exciting,” said Bollig, who encloses a letter for each Operation Christmas Child recipient.

Since it costs $7 to ship each box of gifts to Operation Christmas Child, Bollig’s 4-H club works at the Malt Barn at the Kossuth County Fair and sells Watkins products to raise money to cover these expenses. In 2012, MaxYield also donated funds to cover shipping costs for 30 gift boxes.

It was an easy decision, said Chad Meyer, MaxYield’s client relations/communications director. “We’re proud to support Operation Christmas Child, because Madison took the initiative to undertake a project that helps others and makes a positive impact.”

Project leads to $500 scholarship

Bollig’s contributions have opened up new opportunities for her. In 2012, she documented her experiences with Operation Christmas Child through a 4-H exhibit at the Kossuth County Fair. The entry earned a purple ribbon and qualified for the Iowa State Fair competition, where Bollig was one of ten 4-Hers to receive a $500 human sciences studies scholarship to Iowa State University.

“This was quite an honor,” said Bollig, whose extracurricular school activities include volleyball, basketball, FFA, and choir. “I’m happy to help more people learn about Operation Christmas Child, and I plan to keep donating to this program.”

To learn more about Operation Christmas Child, log on to www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC.


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