Every year, Samaritan’s Purse collects and distributes shoeboxes full of gifts to children around the world in a program called Operation Christmas Child. It is an easy opportunity to share love. Love. That is what I want to teach my kids. Along with generosity, gratitude, joy, patience….but mostly love. You don’t have to have kids to pack a shoebox either and you can pack as few or as many as you like. Here is what you do:
1.) Get a shoebox. It can be a cardboard one from your latest sneakers or it can be a shoebox sized plastic tub. I usually buy the tubs for $1 at the Dollar Tree. That way the child has a sturdier spot to store their new treasures.
2.) Decide whether your gift will be for a Boy or Girl and in what age category your gifts fit under: 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14. Print off label HERE. Mark appropriate category and tape to the top of the box. Gift wrapping the box is optional. If you choose to do this, wrap base and lid separately and tape Boy/Girl tag on top.
3.) Time to shop and fill that box with gifts! Suggested Gifts include: Socks, toothbrush, soap, deodorant, hats, shirts, hair accessories (bows, headbands, clips, brushes, combs), balls, dolls, cars, jump ropes, stuffed animals, instruments, school supply items (pens, pencils, crayons, notebooks, etc.), hard candy, etc. If you send anything with batteries, please also send extra batteries. If you send a deflated full size ball, please include a pump.
This is where my daughter really gets involved. I explain what we’re doing and she helps me shop. She knows that she is not shopping for herself (which is hard and she still asks for things), but loves being able to buy things for someone else too. We went to the Dollar Tree first to get some basic items (notebook, crayons, personal hygiene stuff, hard candy) and then added in some more quality items from another store (hat, doll, cars, purse). We also realized that we have a little room left in our boxes after all that you see pictured. So we are going to add some t-shirts and few other things.
- 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NOT INCLUDE: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.
- YOU MAY INCLUDE: A personal card or note and a picture with your address. Child may be able to write back.
4.) Help cover shipping and other costs related to delivering your shoeboxes to children overseas by donating $7 (that’s cheap!) 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, please make one combined donation. Note: Follow Your Box is only available through online giving.
5.) Put a rubber band around each box to help hold the lid down/on. Find a drop of location near you: HERE or call 1-800-353-5949. Make sure to drop off your box during National Collection Week, November 14–21st, 2016. Don’t let these dates slip you by!
If you don’t have time for this, which doesn’t really take long, another option is to build a virtual shoebox online to send. It is $25 and lets you choose what goes into your box from their pre-determined options. It doesn’t get any easier than this! So what are you waiting for? Let’s spread some Good News and Great Joy!