Friday, November 09, 2012

Operation Christmas Child - Shoebox

We have a friend of the family that recently moved to North Carolina to start her job at Samaritan's Purse, the global outreach that sponsors Operation Christmas Child.  This mission for kids started back in 1993 and is still going strong.  The simple idea behind it is people pack up special shoe boxes full of gifts for kids on the other side of the world, who would not normally get any Christmas presents.  I have to say we have never done this as a family, but I felt compelled after watching a few videos our friend posted that this is something I wanted to try this year with my girls.  How fun would it be for them to pick girls their own ages and pack up a special box for them? How fortunate are we, blessed with so much, to learn even at an early age how to be a blessing to others.  We are now planning on doing it this weekend. The best news is that it's not too late, you can do it too!  Operation Christmas Child is collecting shoe boxes all next week (November 12th - November 19th), so grab your kids and have them help pack a special gift for a far away child in need.

Operation Christmas Child - An amazing opportunity to be a blessing

Now all you need is the information.  I, being a total novice here have collected everything you need to know.  By the way, did you know that since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has given away over 95 million shoe boxes?  That is amazing.  They are hoping to reach their goal of 100 million boxes this year, and you can help.  First, if you want to read about them, and check out how the program works, visit their website here. At first I thought you would have to be apart of a church organization to do this (Many churches will have a drive to put tons of shoe boxes together). You can do as little as one or two boxes with your own family.  They have drop off locations available all over the place.  Simply input your state or zip code here and it will list all the drop off locations near you for next week.  Very handy.  Now here's what you will need:

1 regular sized shoe box (or plastic container with lid)
 You can gift wrap the shoe box, just make sure the lid is wrapped separately

Determine if you gift is for a boy or a girl 
They have them divided by ages, 2-4, 5-9, 10-14

labels like this available on their site

Fill the shoe box with gifts
Great ideas for gifts are:  

Something to wear
something to love
something for school
something to play with (cars, balls, stickers, art supplies)
something to get clean with (soap, tooth brush, etc)
hard candy
You can also include a letter/photo of your family, they might write back

Note: Things they don't want included are war toys (guns, knives, soldiers) chocolate, liquids, glass, breakables (snow globes) and vitamins.

Add $7 or more for each box to help with shipping
There is an amazing **NEW** online way to donate the shipping $ and then print out a tracking label attached to your email.  You will then be notified on which country your box ends up going to.  How cool is that?  My girls love maps.  How neat would it be to get out our globe and show them how far away their present traveled?

Secure the box with labels and rubber bands and take to a drop off location
Click here again to see if there is one near you

Click here to see the complete getting ready list plus other gift ideas.

To see the very powerful impact of a simple gift, watch this video.  It gave me chills and made me cry.


Here's some pictures of some shoe boxes I found online with inspirations and ideas for you:

It's pretty amazing what you can fit into a little box.

Also, did I mention they thought of everything?  They also have a way for you to give a shoe box, even if you don't have time to go out and buy everything.  Simply click here to check out their "Build-a Box" (for $30) then go and select items they will pack into a box FOR you.  What a great idea.  Love it.

Ok so my girls are excited to go this weekend and find things, I will keep you posted.  Let me know if you and your family decide to do this.  I think it's a great way to kick of the holiday season.

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