Local teen plays gift bearer in Philippines

A New Providence teen got to play gift bearer for a group of young people in the Philippines and came back with wonderful memories.

Kendra DuChane, 17, took part in a weeklong trip to the Philippines last month. She helped deliver thousands of shoeboxes full of gifts and other items to children who may have never received a gift in their entire lives. It is part of the Operation Christmas Child effort.

“It’s something I’ll never forget,” DuChane said.

DuChane was selected as one of 20 teens in the country to go out of hundreds of nominations. They delivered a gospel message to the children then followed it up with shoeboxes, which were a hit.

“It was so wonderful to see these kids open them,” DuChane said. “They were all so very excited.”

One memorable encounter on the trip was with a boy who prayed for a toy monkey to be inside. When he opened his box, which was packed in North Carolina months beforehand, a stuffed toy monkey was inside.

“It was just amazing to see,” DuChane said.

Amid all the great moments, DuChane also saw families living on the street in poverty just blocks from their hotel.

“It kind of shook me as far as what we take for granted here,” she said.

Her family has packed boxes around Christmastime for the past 10 years and she said this trip will encourage her to pack more for Operation Christmas Child. Though it’s highly unlikely she’ll ever get sent to a delivery trip again, DuChane said this summer’s trip will make her more conscious of the poverty in the world.

“It’s pushed me to be more involved in service projects,” DuChane said.

Boxes are packed around the world and delivered to impoverished countries as part Operation Christmas Child, including a big effort locally each year.

DuChane is home-schooled and is at the equivalent of her senior year in high school.