Nuestra Comunidad: Youngster’s passion for giving unites community

More than 1,000 boxes will be sent for needy children around the world.

More than 1,000 boxes will be sent for needy children around the world.

Like an army of goodwill, many answered the call of a little boy with a big mission: to bring joy to children in need all over the world.

For several years, 9-year-old David Rivera and his family have volunteered with Samaritan’s Purse, a humanitarian aid organization which serves children in the world’s poorest regions, though its Operation Christmas Child program.

Help arrives in the form of shoeboxes, which are filled with small toys, personal hygiene items and school supplies.

Last year, David set a goal of collecting 250 boxes. His mother, Adaris Rivera, surprised at her young son’s ambition, told David that the number was high, but his response was that she merely needed to have a little more faith. After a persistent door knocking campaign, David ended up doubling his goal and collecting almost 500 boxes.

Motivated, David decided to increase his goal to between 500 and 1,000 boxes this holiday season.

“We had a great response from the community. The Woodstock Police Department came out to help, as did many people from the schools. We had many volunteers show up and ask, ‘How can we help?’ ” explained Josué Rivera, David’s father.

After a day spent filling boxes in an improvised work area inside Chattahoochee Technical College, in Woodstock, as well as at Cultivadores Church, in Dallas, Georgia, volunteers were able to fill 1,122 boxes.

“I can picture the children laughing for a long time and shouting with joy. For some of them, it’s the first gift they will receive,” said David, in reference to the reaction he imagines the children will have upon receiving their presents.

At their congregation, the Rivera family celebrated their accomplishment, which was made possible thanks to a community’s unity. The Rev. Frank Velázquez also recognized David’s efforts.

“He is an example for all of us of what we wish to develop in the life of all Christians, that of creating an open and generous heart. There is no age limit to impacting our society,” said Velázquez.