Players and coaches from the Ospreys U18s took time out to lend a helping hand at the Swansea warehouse of Samaritans' Purse, the charity behind Operation Christmas Child, in the build-up the big day next week.
For over 20 years the charity has been sending Christmas gift-filled shoeboxes to some of the most under-privileged children in third-world countries.
The Eyasses gave up an evening to help in the packing and palleting of hundreds of boxes, which are being transported to poor communities in Belarus this week.
The visit was organised by the Ospreys Academy Chaplain Rev. Steve Jones, whose role with the age-grade players is one of pastoral support, welfare and holistic development, aiding their personal growth as people and not simply as players.
Speaking about the evening, Rev Steve commented :
"The boys, myself and the coaches spent two hours at the warehouse hearing about the work of Operation Christmas Child and packing the boxes ready for shipment. The lads worked really hard and were really focussed on the task in hand. They did the Ospreys proud and went away with plenty to think about in terms of values and attitudes."
Regional Performance Development Manager, Andrew Millward, said that the visit would be a huge benefit to the youngsters involved:
“We place a huge value on the holistic development of our young players coming through the development pathway, and getting involved in projects like this can be hugely beneficial.
“These experiences ensure that we have well rounded individuals coming through the system who have a better understanding of society and the world around them, and how fortunate they are to be in their position as hopeful young rugby players and future Ospreys. If we can develop better people, we believe that we will have better rugby players on our hands.
“We are grateful to Rev Steve and Samaraitans’ Purse for arranging this and allowing our young men to play a part in Operation Christmas Child and help make Christmas special for children less fortunate than themselves.”
To read more about Operation Christmas Child, visit www.operationchristmaschild.org.
To read more about the work of Sports Chaplaincy visit: www.sportschaplaincy.org.uk