Simple Shoeboxes with a Big Impact

Over 10 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 12-19.

That’s soon!

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:

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.

Pack a shoebox with Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty

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!

Are You Packing a Shoebox?

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November is one of my favorite months of the year for a couple of reasons.

Thanksgiving for one.  It’s my favorite holiday.

Cooler weather for another (October here in Virginia doesn’t always live up to my expectations of fall.)

And November is also when we pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.

Every year, the organization Samaritan’s Purse collects shoeboxes stuffed full of goodies that they then deliver to needy children all over the globe.

National Collection Week is in November every year.  This year, the collection dates are November 14-21.

We love Operation Christmas Child as a family. All year long, we collect toys, hygiene items and school supplies to donate to our church’s packing party.

It adds less than $10 to my family’s grocery budget for me to pick up some extra pencils or toothbrushes or soap (for instance).  Then, by the time November comes, we’ve actually collected a large supply of items to give!

If you’ve never done that before, would you consider buying a few items every single week in 2017 to use for packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child?

Some people like to buy a different theme item each month—like stuffed animals during February with Valentine’s Day and candy in October following Halloween.

I personally like to focus on buying the same items each week with occasional toys, pencils, notebooks, flip-flops, etc. as an extra when I find a really great deal.

At a packing party, church members bring all these gifts together for one big night of packing as many shoeboxes as possible.  It’s a lot of fun and has a big impact!

Some of you have also helped our family collect the supplies we need to make some crafts to put in the boxes.  Thank you!

This year, we recycled old t-shirts into headbands, used some leftover fleece to make hats, and made friendship bracelets.occ-andrew-with-boxes

Even my three-year-old is in on the excitement now.  He’s talking all the time about “shoeboxes,” “Christmas child,” and he loves helping out as we prep items for OCC.  Getting kids involved is one powerful way to teach them about gratitude, giving, and caring about others.

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.

But the most beautiful thing about these shoeboxes isn’t the toys and school supplies we slip inside of them.  It’s knowing that we’re sharing a tangible reminder of God’s love with kids around the world.  This is indeed the greatest gift!occ-3

Sadly, because of our wacky November schedule, we haven’t gotten to participate in the actual packing party at our church for the last two years.

But we can still pack boxes as a family and so can you!

Here’s everything you need to know to get involved in Operation Christmas Child as an individual.

YOU CAN BEGIN BY LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION HERE, LIKE:

If you make a $7 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.

Pack a shoebox with Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty

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!