Every year during the month of November we take some time to participate in Operation Christmas Child. My teenager has been filling two boxes each year for many years. (It’s Time for Operation Christmas Child, Operation Christmas Child) What is even more special about this fact is that she has done so with her own money. I have always loved how she has chosen to give of herself by choosing charity for Christmas.
There are so many children without many of the things she and her siblings take for granted. By taking the time to choose the gender and age range of the children she will buy for, and by choosing each item for her boxes, it gives her a chance to reflect on the things that she has. Using her own money gives her a sense of ownership and of giving and sacrificing of herself for children that have significantly less than she does.
This year not only did my teenager fill her two boxes but each of her siblings participated for the first time by each filling a box with their own money. It was awesome to see the thought that went into each item they placed in their boxes. Each one of them considered what toys/items they might like and get enjoyment out of, as well as what basic needs like a washcloth and soap that would be important for a child to have.
How to Pack a Shoebox
SHOEBOX – Use an empty cardboard or plastic shoebox (average size). You can wrap the box, lid separately, but wrapping is not required.
BOY OR GIRL – Decide whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Download and print the appropriate boy/girl label. Note: If you are paying online you will get the appropriate boy/girl labels when you pay. Mark the correct age category and tape the label to the top of your box.
FILL WITH GIFTS – Fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child (see Gift Suggestions below).
INCLUDE $7 DONATION PER BOX – Help cover shipping and other costs related to delivering your shoeboxes to children overseas by donating $7 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. Note: Follow Your Box is only available through online giving.
DROP OFF – Place a rubber band around each closed shoebox and bring it to the drop-off location nearest you during National Collection Week, which happens every November. Visit the Drop-off Locations page to find the closest drop-off site. Or, call 1-800-353-5949.
MORE INFORMATION – For all the packing details, including labels visit Operation Christmas Child
What To Pack in Your Shoebox:
TOYS: Include items that children will immediately embrace such as dolls, toy trucks, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries), etc.
SCHOOL SUPPLIES: Pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons or markers, stamps and ink pad sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.
HYGIENE ITEMS: Toothbrush, mild bar soap (in a plastic bag), comb, washcloth, etc.
ACCESSORIES: T-shirts, socks, ball caps, sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries).
A PERSONAL NOTE: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. If you include your name and address, the child may write back.
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.