Have you heard of Operation Christmas Child? I want you to not only hear about it I am asking that you get involved. What is Operation Christmas Child? Simply put it is about the power of a simple gift. Operation Christmas Child is the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind. It uses gift-filled shoeboxes to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world.
Operation Christmas Child was started by an organization called Samaritan’s Purse in 1993. Since that time it has collected and delivered more than 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 100 countries. This is my third year being involved with Operation Christmas Child and now that my daughter is a pre-schooler I was excited to talk with her again about the shoebox gifts that we were preparing to pack. “Sweetie Pie did you know that not every child has enough to eat and some have never had a toy?” “Momma, they can share my food and toys.”
This simple yet important idea of sharing and caring for others is what Operation Christmas Child is all about. Operation Christmas Child presents each of us an opportunity to bring hope, love and to even minister in a child’s life. Imagine your child cold, hungry and without some of the basics like access to clean water.
Sending something as simple as a shoebox filled with items like a toothbrush, comb, flip-flops, books and perhaps even candy and a toy will let a child know that they are not forgotten. That they are important, that they are loved and that there is hope.
If you want to get involved it’s really quite simple. Many churches around the country are participating with Operation Christmas Child you can join with a local church and drop off your donated boxes to the designated collection center in your area. Collections have started so you can usually drop off anytime. However, National Collections week is November 18 – 25. You can also start your own drive and have a packing party at your home. Invite friends, neighbors or relatives to come over with empty shoeboxes preferably plastic ones and several items and work together to pack the boxes. Items that are great for children are often ones that can be repurposed and shared. Plastic boxes enables children to use them later for carrying water and washing up in. Items like toothbrushes and combs are essential and including more than one helps children to share with others who may not have received a box or family members. If including candy ensure that it is hard candy so that it will not melt when shipped. Items like soap, washcloths and flip-flops are appreciated. And of course a small toy will bring joy to a child’s heart. All of these items can be found at your local Dollar Store. I took my daughter along with me to the Dollar Store to pick out items for other children. Instilling a spirit of caring and service in her was exciting for me. I also joined in with the collection center in my community for an packing party. We had a great time and packed over 100 boxes! Here’s some of the key steps to donate to Operation Christmas Child.
Use an empty cardboard or plastic shoebox (average size). You can wrap the box, lid separately, but wrapping is not required.
2. Boy or Girl
Decide whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Download and print the appropriate boy/girl label. Mark the correct age category and tape the label to the top of your box.
3. Fill With Gifts
Fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child.
4. Include $7 Donation Per Box
Help cover shipping and other costs related to delivering your shoeboxes to children overseas by donating $7 for each gift you prepare. You can give online to discover the destination of your box. Or, you can write a check to Samaritan’s Purse (note “OCC” on the memo line) and place it in an envelope on top of the items inside your shoebox. If you are preparing multiple gifts, please make one combined donation. Note: Follow Your Box is only available through online giving.
Remember to Pray for the children who will receive your shoebox gifts.
For more details or to donate shoeboxes or monetary gifts click the link here for Samaritan’s Purse .