For quite a few years now, I have been packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Last year, 8 million shoe boxes were given out in over 130 countries. Operation Christmas Child has one mission, which is: To demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
There is something very satisfying thinking about a child receiving their shoe box and the excitement that they must feel! For some of these children, it will be the only gift that they will receive.
I actually have started shopping year round for my boxes. I have a box in the closet which is designated for Christmas Child purchases. The dollar store is a great place to get very good items for the boxes. Another good time to shop, is back to school time. You can pick up a box of crayons for a quarter!
You can use any ordinary shoe box and choose to wrap it or not. I have started buying the plastic shoe box size with a lid at Wal-Mart. You can buy these for about a dollar. I consider it a useful item for the child, or their family.
Instead of wrapping the box, I buy colorful bandannas and line the shoe box. Another gift for the child! This one is obviously for a girl, the boys usually get the red or blue bandannas.
I usually pack boxes for the 5-9 year old children. You can also choose 2-4 year olds, or 10-14 years old. I don't know of any child that does not like to color. They always get a coloring book and a box of crayons in my box. I usually add a box of colored pencils and a pencil sharpener too.
Some of the suggested items to be packed are hygiene items. I always add a comb, a wash cloth, a bar of soap, toothpaste and a toothbrush (or two)!
I always include some kind of toys. This year I found punch balloons. The boys usually get some Hot Wheels cars. Jumpropes, small stuffed animals and games are also good. I ALWAYS send candy and gum (just not chocolate). After all, they do have toothpaste and toothbrushes!
A t-shirt always goes in the box. Sometimes socks as well.
When everything is packed, and ready to go, you stick a label on top of the box indicating if your box is for a boy or a girl, and which age group.
The last thing to be done, is to get your boxes to a designated collection site. Our church in Cheyenne Wells happens to be a collection site this year! They ask that you make a $7 donation to help with shipping costs. If you make this donation on line, you are able to track the destination of your box. Last year, my boxes went to Mexico!
If you are looking for a fun and fulfilling project, you might consider packing shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child next year. I am thinking that this might be a fun project for Tressie and I to do together!