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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Operation Christmas Child: Shoebox Fun

Tears gathered in my oldest daughter’s eyes as she implored me, saying, “Mommy, please, just don’t give me as much this Christmas, these kids need things more than I do.” She needn’t have begged, I was all for the idea.

Operation Christmas Child. With the National Collection Week in mid-November, there’s no time like now to start planning your box. Choose a gender, an age (2-4, 5-9, 10-14), and spree thee to the nearest Dollar General. Flip-flops would be a versatile filler, just size-guess according to the bigger end of your age range. Another fun idea would be to buy a sports ball and deflate it. Stick the small pump in alongside it and just picture the grand times to be had by all. Arts and crafts, personal hygiene products, a stuffed animal to hold close…

OCC is a great way to encourage the gift of giving in your children every Christmas. Each year Samaritan’s Purse collects boxes from all over and sends them overseas to boys and girls ages 2-14. You pack your box with a specific age/gender in mind, and label it accordingly. The best thing about these boxes is that Samaritan’s Purse includes in each one a Gospel booklet that’s followed up with a discipleship program. Over 7 million children received these last year.

Wrap your shoebox and lid separately. We choose to buy plastic Rubbermaid containers (shoebox-sized) simply because they can be reused by the recipients. If you’d like, place a photo of your child in the box. We were touched by a shot in the Samaritan Purse magazine showing a young girl kissing the picture of her giver over and over.

Their website has all the info you need on drop-off locations and gift guidelines. You can even mail your box (es) directly to Samaritan Purse if there’s no drop-off nearby. They ask a $7 donation be included in each box to help cover shipping/handling costs plus printing/distribution costs of the Gospel storybooks. And get this, if you feel you simply don't have time to shop and assimilate a box, you can "adopt a box" and donate $7 for its shipping costs.

Three or four years ago, in lieu of exchanging care packages, an out of state friend sent us a special card printed by Samaritan Purse. It informed us that they’d sent an OCC box in honor of our family.

What better gift this season, than a gift that keeps on giving?

Mary is an old-fashioned thirty-something wife, homeschooler, and aspiring writer. Her blog, Home-steeped Hope, feeds her love/pursuit of the written non-fiction word while her women's fiction "dreams" wait TBR (to be revised)...


Sean Carter said...

thats really a commendable gesture. i will also do what i can for these kids this christmas.
peep into this Christmas Blog for some unique gift ideas.

Gina said...

We usually do this every Christmas but missed it the last couple of years ( I even have two boxes already stuffed in the attic) because I keep forgetting NOW is the time of year they are collecting them.

And I NEVER Thougt of using the plastic containers! What an awesome idea! The gift that keeps on giving!

Thanks for the reminder. We'll make sure and do it this weekend!

Nancy said...

This is a great ministry. Thanks for making your readers aware of it.

Trish Ryan said...

We do this with our church - thanks for the great ideas!

Mary said...

We're blessed to have a woman at our church who "red flags" the weeks approaching OCC and takes it upon herself to collect all the boxes and deliver them to the nearest drop-off. If your church doesn't already do this, it would be a great opportunity for your children to head it up, make announcements and so forth!

Thank you all for commenting!

Anonymous said...

My family is doing this too. In fact, my step-daughters started a month or so ago and already have a couple of boxes ready and waiting.

MInTheGap said...

My mother suggested this to my wife, and our kids did a couple boxes this year-- we'll be sending them out through my mother's church!

They even say that you can include your name or contact information so you can know who you blessed!

Tina said...

Great post. This is really a great organization.

One More Writer said...

We've done this for years and last summer on a mission trip to Ghana, my 15 year old daughter was able to help pass out these boxes in remote villages. She made an incredible video of the experience, which was a life-changing one for her.

It's the "real deal" ministry.