Operation Christmas Child®
Where has the year gone! It is already reminding us that Christmas is around the corner AND time to start packing Christmas Shoeboxes for the mission children overseas and other needy places. If you check out the pictures on the site, you will not be able to stop smiling as the children open their boxes to more fun and treasures they have probably seen in a lifetime at this point in time.
The computer site gives you all the information you need down to where to buy/order the necessary shoeboxes, what and what not to include, and many suggestions for shopping ideas. Don’t forget to include your young children in the process. It helps them to realize the blessing they have in life as they help you make a few, small dreams come true for children in other countries.
Addresses for times and drop-off places are are the site. Since a convenient one is near my husband’s office, he has been my carrier for the last few years and has come to enjoy the experience. They even have the people who come in join in a prayer for their own intentions and for the children who will be receiving the boxes.
My helpful suggestion. It is best to use one of the prescribed boxes but when you go shopping for items to fill the box, borrow a plastic shoebox from the store shelf as you go along to get an idea of how much you can put in a box about that size. The second half of my suggestion? Even though you CAN use a plastic shoe box, the new boxes you can order from the site are a bit bigger and easier to fill, festive and colorful. AND, you can always put some pretty stickers on the outside of your box, too.
I just ordered my shipping stickers for eight boxes this year. My husband is retiring next year and income will be less so we are going with sending extra this year.
Collection time is upon us so please go to the provided link and sign up to make a child . . . or two or three, so very happy this Christmas. The plastic shoe boxes complete with lids can be found at Walmart for under a dollar. They are in the plastic container aisle. Grab your box and then go shopping so you can see how much you can cram into the shoe box. Also, the link will tell you how to obtain the labels which do cost a small amount to cover the shipping. You will find the collection centers listed, too.
I’m packing my four boxes today – two boy and two girl boxes. Besides the candy, stickers and school supplies, I’ve actually managed to fit in a shirt for each of the boys and a dress for each of the girls. Still have a few things to buy to tuck into any spare corners. I tend to overbuy but tend to make it all fit!
I know times are often difficult around the holidays in our own homes but our children always get something for Christmas. These children overseas might not get anything if people don’t share what they have and insure at least one box is in the bunch being sent out in a few weeks. Don’t forget to enclose a Christmas card and a little note as the children cherish the thought and effort.
November is my favorite month of the year and not for the usual ‘turkey’ reason you might think! November is when I start planning and buying for my Samaritan’s Purse Christmas shoe box for children in far away places. This will be my third year and I’ve gone from doing one box the first year all the way up to four this year. What can I say? I’m addicted and love thinking about some child in strapped circumstances finding a shoe box loaded with all kinds of unexpected items including one special thing like a tee shirt or baseball for a boy and a pretty dress for a girl. It is amazing how much you can cram into one of the plastic shoe boxes you can find at Walmart for under a dollar. My younger daughter started doing shoe boxes for the first time last year. She is hooked now and planning to do two of her own. Besides, we like the challenge of my husband saying, “You are never going to get that stuff packed in that shoe box and proving him wrong!
I usually buy my proposed shoe boxes in the summer. Every time I find something cute, fun, or useful for my chosen age group, I buy it and toss it in one of the four boxes I already have on hand.
Truth be told, depending on what you buy, it can cost around $30 including the $9 donation to go towards the shipping. It is a challenge trying to keep within a budget but when I look at what has been purchased for my own children compared to this simple shoe box, I buy what I need for some child’s first real Christmas and worry about the cost later.
My husband’s part in this is taking our boxes over to the collection center. There are collection centers all over the country so most everyone finds a convenient one. Last year, he was one of a small group at the center at the same time. The person in charge asked each person to state something in their lives that needed prayer and the people all gathered in a circle, holding hands, and praying for each other and for the safe and happy delivery of each Christmas box to a happy child.
Interested? https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ Some people have told me that it just doesn’t fit into their Christmas budget. The only way we can manage is to consider the overseas recipient children as part of our Christmas costs treating them like one of our children. And, if you start in the summer to start stockpiling items, you usually only have to get a few more items and the box is quickly packed and on its way.
I had my ‘charitable’ afternoon yesterday. I got the shoe boxes packed, sealed and ready to be dropped off in November. I had enough time to get eleven Rosaries made, and packed some items to send to the people we help through Unbound. I still owe all five of them letters but I think a surprise treat will earn me some forgiveness for being late.
My daughter even got interested in the Samaritan’s Purse annual shoe box drive this year and had a great time finding the perfect items to put into her box. She is already planning her shoe box for next year.
There is still time to brighten some child’s Christmas with probably the first real Christmas they have had. Just google Samaritan’s Purse – Christmas Shoe Box Collection and you will find a multitude of information. The cost is seven dollars per shoe box you send which helps the organization offset the steep costs of shipping them overseas.
Interested in ‘adopting’ a child or elder overseas, https://www.unbound.org/ Unbound is the link to check out. We have been doing this for 15 years and it has made a real difference in our lives. You don’t just send support donations to a vast group of people but actually ‘adopt’ the child or elder of your choice and through letters and pictures develop an amazing friendship with the child/elder and their family. If you go on-line, you can see the pictures of the children or elders who are in need of a sponsor. Charity does start at home but, sometimes, charity needs an airmail stamp and a prayer!
Just ordered my labels for my Christmas Shoebox donations! The best part was getting to have an excuse to hang around the toy section to find dolls, cars, and all sorts of fun little items to stuff in my four boxes – two for boys and two for girls.
There is so much joy on the faces of the children who receive these treasure chest boxes of goodies prepared just for them. I’m thinking our children would grow up with more awareness of what is of value in life if we put more into what Christmas is actually about and a shoe box each for their Christmas!
Just ran across this idea this morning for sharing the blessings of Christmas. The link is below and it is called National Shoebox Collection – November 16th-23rd organized by Samaritan’s Purse. The idea is to fill a shoebox with one ‘wow’ gift like a doll, game, etc., along with little items like candy, cards, pencils, etc. The site explains everything and it is $7 per box to help cover expenses and to let you know by tracking where you box of goodies ends up in the world. I couldn’t decide so I ordered tracking tags for a boy and for a girl and am looking forward to shopping for my shoe boxes tomorrow. They also provide a list of drop off sites to take you shoeboxes. They have to be there by November 23rd to make it out in time for Christmas.