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Former recipient of underprivileged kids program gives back to set example

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PASCO, WA - On Saturday, we brought you the story of local volunteers filling 800 shoe boxes with clothes, games, and other goodies for underprivileged kids around the world as part of "Operation Christmas Child." Reporter Rex Carlin sat down to talk with a local who received one of those boxes as a child, living in Ukraine in the 90's.

"We had two big buses that would come, and one big bus was full of boxes for the girls, and the other one was full of boxes for the boys," said Kristina Bahovich.

When she was five years old living in an unstable Ukraine in the 90's, Bahovich got one of these shoe boxes from Operation Christmas Child, or OCC.

"Things were scarce," she said. "For example, clothing was not easy to get because it was right after the break apart between Russia and Ukraine in the 1990's."

Samaritan's Purse sends the shoe boxes from more than a dozen countries to more than a hundred countries around the world for underprivileged kids.

"Places where there's ongoing war, famine, natural disasters."

Tricia MacFarlan is the area coordinator for OCC and has been on the ground with churches in several countries to deliver the shoe boxes in person.

"What never ceases to humble me is how it's the little things, it's like this toothbrush gets clenched in their fist next to their chest and that's what they're holding on tight to," MacFarlan said.

One of MacFarlan's most memorable trips with OCC was to deliver shoe boxes to Rwanda.

"They had no idea," she said. "They had no expectations. They never had a gift before. There was no reason for them to be excited for this box they were holding because they had no idea what could be in there."

And coming full circle, now living in Pasco, Kristina Bahovich is giving back...working with OCC to provide shoe boxes to kids around the world who, like her, might be going through a tough time.

"It's always different when you have somebody who was part of it because you're like 'wow, it does make a difference,'" Bahovich explained. "People could grow up and then help others. So I hope I am that testimony for others."

If you want to learn how you can send a shoe box, click this link: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/pack-a-shoe-box/ 

To find shoe box drop off locations in your area, click this link: https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/drop-off-locations/ 

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