Saturday, November 6, 2010

Shoeboxes

     For several years now, our family has been participating in Operation Christmas Child. It's part of the Christian organization, Samaritan's Purse. Every year the group collects shoe boxes packed with small gifts for children around the world. The boxes are packed by people like you and me. 

     It has been enjoyable for my girls. We even included it in one of the girls' birthday parties a few years ago. Instead of gifts for my daughter, guests brought things to add to the boxes. I supplied some things like toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, packs of pencils, sharpeners, erasers, paper, and hard candies. I gave the girls boxes and wrapping paper and let them go with it. I peeked in every now and then to see a room full of girls thoughtfully packing gifts for children they would never meet. They even included small notes with them.

     The boxes are taken to a local church that serves as a collection center. From there, they are shipped to a large warehouse. At that location, volunteers check the boxes to make sure everything is in order and they prepare them to go overseas.  A booklet telling them the good news of Jesus is included. It's wild to think that you might be packing a box that gets delivered by an elephant or by dog-sled!

     C.S.Farmer and I are the coordinators for our church. I love taking the 60-90 boxes to the collection center. The stories that come back to the volunteers just blow me away. The mother of a child who received a box was thrilled to see school supplies. She told a worker at the box distribution that she was having trouble deciding between using their small income to buy food or supplies for school so their children could grow up to have a better life. Wow. One story told of a box that was packed only with thick socks. A worker at the warehouse wondered if this might be a problem if it was shipped to a warm place. It was shipped to a place with a tropical climate, but it ended up going to a young boy who had burns all over his feet and dearly needed those socks! I could type amazing stories for you all night, but I think you'd enjoy them far more if you read them on the Samaritan's Purse website. Just click on the link above and read about this project.

      My sister, the girls, and I collect items for the boxes all year long, but it's so easy to pack them with just a trip to the store. Kids love the experience!If you would like to participate, you can search to find a church that collects the boxes in your area. I believe that this project gets boxes from countries other than just the US. Check the website if you're interested.

Make a child smile!

6 comments:

  1. Oh I love doing this with my kids!!!
    Glad to see you enjoy it too....isn't it fun?:)))))
    The next best thing would be to go and personally deliver them:)

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  2. What a wonderful thing for your family to do - to touch children thousands of miles away. I can only imagine how great they must feel to open a box packed with surprises just for them. :)

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  3. I guess that is why I have done the gift delivery for Angel Tree. My husband and I love doing that so much.
    It always makes Christmas so incredible.

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  4. This is truly what Christmas is all about! We do much of the same in our church and collect the items at our home, so I am able to see what people are donating before we have the chance to take the gifts to where they are needed.
    It is so humbling and beautiful!!
    I am so glad that there are so many people out there willing to help other people in this world. Definately the true meaning of Charity and Love.

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  5. This is a wonderful project and glad to see it is a family project in your household.

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  6. We're doing these with our kids for the first time this year!! Our boys have had an absolute BLAST picking out things they love to bless someone other then themselves. We picked up little "about me" sheets from our church too so they'll get to share a little of themselves personally with a child in another country. What an amazing program this is!!

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