The Coffeyville Community College Thanksgiving vacation found members of the Eta Gamma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa volunteering at the international processing plant of Operation Christmas Child, a program of Samaritan's Purse. This organization was a first responder to Coffeyville's 2007 flood. On November 25, the Coffeyville students traveled to Aurora, Colorado, site of one of the several international Operation Christmas Child processing centers. In route to Colorado, the Coffeyville students stopped at Ellis, Kansas to tour the boyhood home and museum of Walter P. Chrysler. The home, built in 1889, was a typical nineteenth century, modernistic style, constructed of white pine clapboard with a cedar shingle roof. The Chrysler family occupied the house from 1889 until 1908. The Chrysler management later deeded the home to the city of Ellis. The Coffeyville students enjoyed seeing an antique automobile collection of eight antique Chryslers including a 1925 Chrysler and a 1940 Dodge truck.
In Denver, the Eta Gamma members partnered with Operation Christmas Child to process over 1,000 gift-filled shoe boxes that are scheduled to go to children world-wide that might not otherwise receive a Christmas present. For many children, the shoe box may be the only gift they will ever receive. Shoe boxes from the Denver plant were scheduled for delivery to Nigeria and Mexico. These two destinations were selected as the Denver plant is a land-locked site. During the Coffeyville students" shift on Wednesday afternoon, it was announced that 22,000 shoe boxes had been processed at the Denver location during the first day and one-half of operation. The goal of the Denver plant is 825,000 shoe boxes with 9.5 million national wide. It takes approximately 3 to 4 weeks for the boxes to reach the children as many destinations are in remote locations.
While in Denver, the students also visited the National Wild Life Refuge Center and took a driving tour to view several types of wild life in their natural habitat. The students also had an opportunity to visit the historic mountain town of Georgetown.
The group's final stop was Nicodemus, Kansas in route home. The Nicodemus National Historic Site commemorates the only remaining western town established by African Americans during the Reconstruction Period following the American Civil War. The settlement of Nicodemus was part of a greater movement of western migration that occurred in the latter half of the 19th century. Tina Conway and Angela Bates, descendants of the early Nicodemus settlers, shared with the Coffeyville students the pilgrimage made by the blacks to this remote Kansas Site and the many hardships and struggles encountered as these "pilgrims" worked to establish homes in a new land unknown to them. Many members of the group were former slaves from Kentucky in search of a new livelihood.
Participating in the Operation Christmas Child service project were: Tim Munday, Wendy Neri Mejia, Cristin Shepard, Mitchell Reitz, Karl Wittenburg, Carolina Machado, Andres Mora, Brett Lamb, and Amy Epp.