A group of teenagers in Anna is giving back this Christmas, providing gifts to underprivileged children in third world countries.

Anna High School senior Addison Goudy got the idea while talking to friends. She wanted to do something that would help others and be a bonding experience for the girls she hangs out with.

“We were talking about how we could give back because we were so fortunate,” Goudy said. “And even though none of us have a lot of money, we wanted to do something.”

After searching online, Goudy landed on Operation Christmas Child, a project organized by the non-profit organization Samaritan’s Purse.

According to the project’s website, individuals are encouraged to pack shoeboxes filled with small toys, hygiene items and school supplies. The boxes are sent to drop-off locations and shipped to children living on Native American reservations in the U.S. and to children living in countries affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine and disease.

“It was incredible seeing their giving hearts and everything that they wanted to do, even though they really don’t have money themselves,” Goudy said.

Eighteen teenage girls from Anna High School got together after school in November and went to Dollar Tree.

“It was really cool in a way to pick items for somebody else who probably does not get a lot of things,” freshman Catarina Perkins said.

The girls packed 10 shoe boxes with toothpaste, toothbrushes, stickers, hair ties, teddy bears, Life Saver gummies, coloring books and pens.

“I feel like the child will be excited because they are getting a box from the other side of the world,” Perkins said.

Giving the box didn’t just help the children who will receive it – Goudy said the girls took something from the experience too.

“I can’t tell you how cool it was to see them running around the store,” Goudy said. “It was like they wanted to know the kid they were buying stuff for. They were like ‘Do you think he will like this?’ or “Do you think she would enjoy playing with this?’ And seeing their eyes light up doing something for somebody else instead of just wanting to do something for themselves all the time like that was super cool.”

To donate to Operation Christmas Child go online to www.samaritanspurse.org