Over 12 years ago, I sat in church at the end of October. That year, I had decided not to pack any shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
Sure, I loved it. I love kids. I love sharing the Gospel with kids.
So, it was a perfect match. You fill a shoebox with school supplies, toys, and hygiene items and Operation Christmas Child sends it around the world to a child who may never have had a Christmas present before.
Plus, it opens up opportunities share the news about Jesus in communities where shoeboxes are distributed.
But that year, money was tight and it felt like I gave to so many different things at the holidays. Time to narrow things down, I had reasoned.
Then, they showed a video during our church service with kids jumping up and down with joy just for getting a shoebox. They celebrated over some matchbox cars and toothbrushes or a doll and some soap.
I cried. Doing such a simple thing has such a big impact. Pack a shoebox….bless a child…bless their family….bless their community….bless the world.
No way was I going to miss out on being a part of that!
This year, Samaritan’s Purse hopes to send 12 million shoeboxes to children in need around the world and we can all participate.
NATIONAL COLLECTION WEEK THIS YEAR IS NOVEMBER 18-24.
Our family likes to work all year long to collect crayons, pencils, soap, toothbrushes, and more so that we’re ready to pack those boxes each fall.
Some of you have also helped us gather supplies in order to make some homemade items for our boxes. I love making homemade items because they add a little extra love to each box and I pray over every project as I make it, which helps to keep my focus on serving others.
HERE ARE SOME OF OUR FAVORITE PROJECTS FROM THE PAST FEW YEARS:
- stitched together some soft teddy bears
- sewed bandanna bags
- recycled old t-shirts into headbands
- turned leftover fleece into hats,
- made friendship bracelets.
- melted broken crayons and made new, shaped crayons
- sewed homemade scrunchies
- sewing marble pouches and filling them with marbles
Here’s one of the things I love the most. When we do these projects with our kids, when we carry in bags full of crayons and stuffed animals to church for our packing party, when we gather around our kitchen table to pack a box, when we finish up those boxes and pause to pray for the kids who will receive them….we aren’t just blessing kids around the world.
We’re blessing our own children.
We’re teaching our kids that this world is so much bigger than us and there are people out there with overwhelming need. We need to be praying for them and we need to be rolling up our sleeves and reaching out to help them in practical ways.
Some of the children who receive these boxes have never owned their own toothbrush; they’ve shared with all the kids in their orphanage. They’ve never had their own toy. They don’t have the pencils they need to go to school so they simply don’t go. Or they might be wearing raggedy, ripped apart shoes that barely hold together.
We can bless them with a shoebox of gifts.
WOULD YOU CONSIDER PACKING SOME SHOEBOXES THIS YEAR FOR OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD? HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IN ORDER TO GET STARTED:
YOU CAN BEGIN BY LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION HERE, LIKE:
If you make a $9 donation online to cover the shipping for your box, you can even print off a label that lets you track it here!! A few weeks after delivery, they’ll send you an email telling you what country your box was delivered to and some general information about the needs in that area.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, DON’T FORGET TO PRAY OVER EACH SHOEBOX YOU PACK! PRAYER IS SO POWERFUL!
HERE ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITE OCC VIDEOS TO ENCOURAGE YOU AS YOU PACK.
Matthew West shows the Great Lengths OCC goes to bring shoeboxes to kids around the world.
Scotty McCreery shows how to pack a shoebox.
TobyMac’s Christmas This Year OCC Video
Check out how excited this boy from Angola is to receive his shoebox! This is my most favorite OCC video ever!