Associates in Duke Realty’s Atlanta office and several of its vendor and subcontractor partners gathered at a processing center in Suwanee last December to help the Atlanta-area center for Operation Christmas Child. Volunteers packed and processed boxes for the international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, which sends millions of shoebox-size care packages at Christmas to children in need around the world.
Senior Project Manager in construction Bernie Bischof, his colleagues, and Duke Realty’s vendor and subcontractor partners donated 186 boxes for the effort. They spent two days at the processing center assembling more.
This is the fifth year that Duke Realty has been involved with Operation Christmas Child. Bischof says it’s always interesting to see the materials people have gathered to go into the boxes. Personal hygiene items are always included but, Bischof says, “you really see how creative people can get with things like washcloths, eating utensils, soap, toothpastes and toothbrushes.”
Items such as small toys and coloring books are included as well, and Bischof points out that part of the sorting process is to ensure that everything supplied is appropriate. No war toys are sent, for example, as many boxes are destined for war-torn areas.
Bischof has been with Duke Realty in Atlanta for eight years, but his involvement with Operation Christmas Child goes back seven years further. Last January, Bischof was one of 50 long-time volunteers who worked with a distribution team in Colombia handing out the boxes. He cites it as a meaningful experience, but one that motivated him to do even more. As many boxes as Operation Christmas Child distributes, he says, there are “four or five times as many kids wanting them.”
Bischof and fellow Duke Realty project manager Ken Skinner have been working to expand the company’s contribution and expand the regional collection team. They encourage participants to buy materials in bulk whenever the opportunity arises, and hold a box-building party in late November in advance of the actual collection.
Their efforts to bring in Duke Realty vendor and subcontractor partners have also been fruitful. This year, Advanced Disposal joined the volunteers at the processing center and provided dumpsters at 50% of their standard rate. Option Signs provided 34 boxes and AL Grading sent volunteers to the processing center, as well as provided 52 boxes.
The Atlanta office values the work they’ve been able to do for Operation Christmas Child, and they are committed to bringing joy and relief, year after year, to even more children in need around the world.