Last week I was at a Mom 2 Mom meeting when one of the moms brought up Operation Christmas child. The purpose of Operation Christmas Child is to use gift-filled shoeboxes to share God’s love in a tangible way with needy children around the world. Since 1993, Samaritan’s Purse has collected and delivered more than 113 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in over 150 countries through Operation Christmas Child. Shoebox gifts are collected in the United States, Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. More than 500,000 volunteers worldwide, with more than 100,000 of those in the United States, are involved in collecting, shipping, and distributing shoebox gifts.
When I heard about this I knew this was the prefect thing to do with my kids. I am always trying to remind them that we are very blessed, to be kind, and to help others out. I had specifically been talking to them a couple nights before about how there are children in this world that have nothing. I told them that we should go through their toys and find an organization that we could donate them too. They were a surprised when I told them there are families that can't afford food. The look on their little faces were so shocked and heartbroken. Once they heard that they started to really think about what they could give, they wanted to go through the toys right then. Plus is was almost bedtime so why not give all your toys away if you can stay up. Anyhow so when I heard about Operation Christmas Child, I immediately jumped on the opportunity to have my kids do this. That night at dinner I explained it all to the kids, really trying to get them a good understanding of it. Hunter, being the oldest, really grasped it which was awesome.
The next day I told Hunter we would be going to the store to get the items for our boxes. At first we thought we would just do 2 boxes but then changed to 3. We did 2 boys ages 5-9 and 1 girl ages 2-4. Hunter and I picked out the items to go in the box. I was going to take Weston back to pick some stuff but after being in the store for a good amount of time I didn't want to go back. Things we picked out were Legos, Cars, How to Train Your Dragon figurine, clothes, dinos, snakes, candy, tooth brush, tooth paste, coloring book, crayons, doll, My Little Pony, hair ties, necklaces and some other items. While we were at the store a lady saw us looking at shirts. She told Hunter she liked the shirt we were looking at and he replied we are here today at the store to buy other boys and girls things for Christmas because they can't afford it and we want to help, we are not buy anything for us. The lady looked at him and said thats so kind of you, we need to help each other out. It was really cute. He was so proud of what we were doing it makes me want to cry thinking about it. That is one thing I really want to instill in my kids - thinking of others and always helping people where you can. I feel like its so important to do. Its important #makingsmiles in the smallest ways. After the store we came home and packed our boxes up. Weston had a hard time because he really liked everything in the boxes but after talking with him a little more about it he did a great job and got more excited about it. I heard him this morning talking with Hunter about what toys they could give other children. This was such a happy moment for me, I love that they really are getting it.
Here is a short video of my kids working on their boxes.
Here is the process:
Individuals, families, churches, and groups fill empty shoeboxes with gifts of toys, school supplies, hygiene items, and notes of encouragement. During National Collection Week, Nov. 17-24, Samaritan’s Purse will collect the gift-filled shoeboxes at more than 4,000 drop-off sites in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Operation Christmas Child also offers the opportunity year-round to pack personalized shoebox gifts online. Go to samaritanspurse.org and click on Operation Christmas Child to select toys and gift items, write a note of encouragement, and “pack” them in a shoebox. Shoebox gifts are prepared for overseas shipment at nine major processing centers across the United States—Atlanta; Baltimore; Boone, N.C.; Charlotte; Dallas; Denver; Honolulu; Minneapolis; and Southern California. Samaritan’s Purse will deliver the gifts to children in more than 100 countries on six continents. Donors can find out the country where their gifts are delivered by creating shipping labels and using the donation form found at samaritanspurse.org Click on “Pack a Shoebox” / “Follow-Your-Box Label.”
There is still time fill a shoebox!
What are some ways you give during the year? Do you do anything special around the holidays? Have you started to teach you kid or kids about giving?