Each year since 1993, millions of children across the world from more than 100 countries and territories are given the opportunity to become acquainted with the sacred writings, the Word of God.
One such way that this is made possible over and over each year is by Operation Christmas Child, which has been a project of Samaritan's Purse since 1993.
Empty shoe boxes are filled by individuals, families, churches and various other groups. During National Collection Week in November of each year these boxes are dropped of at designated sites and then picked up and taken to processing centers to be made ready to be shipped internationally to a much deserving child.
What happens when that child receives his or her shoe box is really the most important part. Not only do they receive much needed items such as basic hygiene products and school supplies, they also receive some kind of toy. This could be the first of these sorts of items they have ever received. However it doesn't stop with small gifts. Along with the much desired items, the children also receive a huge gift, "The Greatest Gift" Gospel booklet , and they are invited to come to The Greatest Journey classes offered by a local church. This is a 12-lesson discipleship program that teaches them how to faithfully follow Christ and share Him with family and friends. Most likely this could be the child's first knowledge of Christ and his Kingdom for all who accept him.
I would like to encourage you to consider packing a shoe box. It's easy. Some churches and organizations have boxes to give away to be filled and brought back or if you happen to have a shoe box (no boot boxes ,please), you can use your own. Wrap it in gift paper with the lid being wrapped separately so that it will be able to be removed easily. Then stop buy your local variety type store and begin filling the box. Once it is filled, place a rubber band around it to ensure safe travels and please pray for the child who will receive it. Then take it to a local drop-off center and your blessing will be on it's way. It's as easy and fun as that.
A few tips for packing a shoe box are:
First decide the age and gender of the child you would like to bless with your box.
Choose important items such as the hygiene products, toothbrush, toothpaste, bar soap, washcloth, brush or comb etc.
Also include other necessary items such as school supplies, pencils, sharpener, notebooks, crayola's, etc.
Please try to include skillful items such as a small sewing kit for older girls or a few small tools for a young man.
For all children, a toy of some sort is a beloved gift. A stuffed animal, a soccer ball, purse, jewelry, toy truck etc.
It is also fun to include a picture of your family for the child to be able to relate to the ones who provided these fun items. You can also include a short note and your address so that the child, if given the opportunity might someday write back to you. I also include in my box a piece of paper, envelope and an international stamp. This makes it even easier for the child to communicate with you.
There are restrictions on what can go in the boxes, such as toy guns, and chocolate. This of course is to ensure that the boxes do not becoming soiled from melted chocolate and also because the boxes go to many war torn areas and a toy gun may be seen as an inappropriate encouragement in a young child's life.
The cost of shipping the boxes is calculated to be approximately $7 per box. If you feel lead to do so, you can include the $7 in the box, which will be collected at the processing center. However, this is NOT a requirement.
For more detailed information and instructions on packing your shoe box, please click on the link https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/ and you will find all of the information along with printable labels to identify your choice of age and gender for your box.
Purchasing an entire shoe box full of items all at once can sometimes be more than one family can spend at a time. For this reason, and to continue to encourage families to participate, Operation Christmas Child has provided a monthly calendar of ideas for items to be bought each month leading up to November. This way a family can spread out their expense over several months, making this opportunity a lot more doable.
As a helpful reminder to you, I will begin posting, around the first of each month, the suggested items to buy for that month. I hope this will be helpful in your preparations to have your box completed by the end of each year.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.
In the meantime, have a wonderful day and remember, you can help change to world one child at a time..
BE PREPARED TO BLESS,
Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them: for of such is the kingdom of God.