Saturday, November 23, 2013

Operation Christmas Child: There's Still Time

You still have time to participate in one of the most important acts of the Christmas season. Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes are in delivery week, which ends this Monday, November 25. Click here to find a drop-off location near you.

If you don't have time to put the box together yourself, click here to build a box online.

We went to the dollar store, knowing it would not be packed with Thanksgiving grocery shoppers, and still found quality brands.

If you want to do it yourself, here's how:

1. Obtain a shoebox. Use an empty cardboard or plastic shoebox (average size). You can wrap the box, lid separately, but wrapping is not required. Don't wrap the box and lid together, because Samaritan's Purse puts evangelical materials into every box.

2. Choose gender and age.
Decide whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.

3. Bring the shoebox (to size everything) and go shopping with your family. Get the kids involved. It will be one of the most meaningful things you'll do this season; your hearts will be filled with joy throughout the process!

4. Include a personal note and picture of your family. If you include your name and address, the child might write back.

5. After you pack it, download and print the appropriate boy/girl label. Mark the correct age category and tape the label to the top of your box.

6. Place a rubberband around the closed box, and deliver the box to the drop-off location during National Collection Week, November 18–25. Visit the Drop-off Locations page (check the times for drop-off) to find the closest collection site. Or, call 1-800-353-5949.

7. 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, make one combined donation. Note: Follow Your Box is only available through online giving.

8. Pray for the child every day, throughout the year.

Gift Suggestions:

  • Toys: Include items that children will immediately embrace such as dolls, toy trucks, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries), etc.
  • School Supplies: Pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons or markers, stamps and ink pad sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.
  • Hygiene Items: Toothbrush, mild bar soap (in a plastic bag), comb, washcloth, etc.
  • Accessories: T-shirts, socks, ball caps, sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries).
  • A Personal Note: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. If you include your name and address, the child may write back.
  • Do Not Include: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.

  • Samaritan's Purse Background Information:

    "Since 1993, more than 100 million boys and girls in over 130 countries have experienced God’s love through the power of simple shoebox gifts from Operation Christmas Child. Samaritan’s Purse works with local churches and ministry partners to deliver the gifts and share the life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ."

    "Soon, millions of gifts lovingly packed by individuals, families, churches, and civic groups will be on their way to children in need in 117 countries around the world. The gifts will be delivered by every means possible—boat airplane, wagon, foot, horse, and even exotic animals such as elephants and camels." (Quotes courtesy of Samaritan's Purse)

    Samaritan's Purse Personal Testimony:
    Sue grew up in war-torn Bosnia. Shootings and bombings afflicted her surrounding neighborhoods, and many people were nearly starving due to food shortages. But despite the devastation around her, she found hope in an extraordinary gift when she received a shoebox during the winter of 1993-94.

    A little girl named Jenny from Ohio sent a shoebox gift to Sue containing a Barbie toothbrush and toothpaste; shiny pencils and erasers; notepads; a pink and purple hat; gloves and scarf; a coloring book; a My Little Pony; and her favorite gift— a pair of pajamas with glow-in-the-dark stars.

    “You may feel that it is silly I cared so much about my pajamas while people around me were getting shot and starving,” Sue said. “At the time, I didn’t understand it either. That little blue box made me happier than a piece of bread did.”

    For her, the shoebox gift was the extra measure of comfort that made the greatest impact.

    “Being provided with food is normal and expected,” she said. “However, being provided with love is exceptional. Being comforted is miraculous. And receiving Milky Way pajamas when I knew I didn’t have to have them meant exactly that to me—that somebody loved me and wanted to comfort me.”

    Please join volunteers around the country and world in sharing this kind of comfort that can be sent through a simple shoebox gift. Remember to pray for each child who will receive shoebox gifts this year, specifically that they will feel loved and comforted, despite their current circumstances, and that they will get the opportunity to receive the greatest gift from God, Jesus Christ.


    Amber said...

    The kids and I have done this a few times, but have not this year. We all enjoyed doing it and plan to again in the future.

    What a great way for children here to learn of compasion and to feel the joy when one gives to another.

    Terri H said...

    Our AWANA club packs OCC boxes and it's such a cool thing every year! This year we were able to pack over 160 boxes as a club and contributed by individual families.

    Christine said...

    Amber, what a blessing for your kids to have experienced this!

    And Terri,our experience has always been through AWANA as well, but only contributing to boxes in the past. At this new AWANA they asked more for boxes coming complete from home, more than items coming in to contribute. Your AWANA sounds a lot bigger than ours. WOW!