As part of Jersey Family Fun’s 12 Days of Service series we have decided to showcase Operation Christmas Child. I first became aware of this organization in my church bulletin. As I read through the paragraph I was drawn to the fact that they focus on children. Having a small child of my own I know how expensive it is to not only provide her with materials for daily living, but educational and recreational items as well. The filling of the shoe boxes is something that your whole family can take part in and together everyone will share the warm feelings that come with helping others this holiday season.
Get to know Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, is the world’s largest Christmas outreach of its kind. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered gift-filled shoeboxes to over 124 million children affected by war, poverty, natural disasters, and other crises in more than 150 countries and territories. They partner with local churches to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those who receive shoebox gifts and offer a 12-lesson discipleship program, The Greatest Journey, that helps boys and girls learn what it means to follow the Lord and share their faith with others.
I picked up 4 shoe boxes from the church I attend. HOWEVER, you can use your own shoe boxes or other boxes that are the size of standard shoeboxes. You do not have to attend church to participate in Operation Christmas Child. I chose to use the standard gift tags that are available on the Samaritan’s Purse website. There is an option to pay online and receive a tracking label so you can follow where your shoe boxes go, or you may drop off the boxes in person to the parish you got them from (this is what I did). I can not express how much joy I felt as I walked around the store with my 4 year old picking out toiletries and gifts for the children in need.
We’ve packed 5 Operation Christmas Child boxes. Between blogger events swag, small travel toys, and random new items we’ve collected over the past few months we were able to stuff 5 boxes. My boys and I were pleasantly surprised to find we created enough boxes to give one to each of the following age groups:
- Boy ages 2-4
- Boy ages 5-9
- Girl ages 5-9
- Girl ages 10-14
- Boy or Girl ages 10-14
As my oldest and I packed the boxes, he commented about how generous I was being. I’m glad that he noticed. Not because I need that affirmation from someone, but because I want him to see the example I am trying to set for him and his brothers. I want him to learn that when we are blessed we should share these blessings with others.
Now, that our boxes are packed, we’ll go online to this link to purchase our shipping labels. While many Operation Child collection centers will collect the $7 shipping donation in person, paying online has its benefits. When we donate online we receive a tracking label. When our boxes arrive at their destinations we’ll get an email about the country where our box was delivered. Will all of our boxes go to the same country? Will they be divided? How far will they go? I’m curious to find out. So are they. It’s another opportunity for me to talk with my boys about giving back and how far reaching our impact can be.
What do you think? Will your family pack a shoe box this holiday season?
Here’s what you need to know before you pack a shoe box
There are six easy steps to packing a shoe box.
- Find a Shoe Box- Your local church may have pre-wrapped boxes available. You can also use a standard cardboard or plastic box. If you choose to wrap the box, make sure to wrap the lid and box separately.
- Choose a Category.
- Boy or Girl ages 2-4
- Boy or Girl ages 5-9
- Boy or Girl ages 10-14
- Fill With Gifts.
- Select one “wow” toy such as a doll, soccer ball with pump, or stuffed animal. For more “wow” gift suggestions see here.
- Add toiletry items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, hair ties and combs.
- School supplies such as pencils, paper, rulers, crayons and markers.
- Pray for the child or children you are filling a shoe box for.
- Some people like to include a letter or photo of themselves in their shoe box as an added personal touch.
- The cost to ship a shoe box to a needy child is $7.00.
- Make an online payment and follow your box.
- Write a check and include it in your shoe box(do not seal box) and drop it off to the church that you picked up your shoe box from.
- Drop Off
- Take your shoe box to a drop off location during National Collection Week: November 16-23.