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!

Time for Operation Christmas Child!

Operation Christmas Child

Earlier this year, I asked for your help.  My kids and I wanted to recycle broken, worn out, paperless crayons and use our new creations to help pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child this November.

You all responded!  Many of our local friends brought us bags and bags and bags of crayons.  Thank you so much!IMG_2947

Because of your donations, we made approximately 400 new crayons and bagged them up in groups of two, meaning that we should be able to place that gift into 200 shoeboxes this year.

 

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

Oh how easy to forget, though, that the gift isn’t just the items we pack into a small box and ship out.

The gift is the testimony of God’s love–that our God sees them and loves them.

National Collection Week is in November each year.  This year, the collection dates are November 16-23.  

That means it’s the perfect time to gather supplies and pack those boxes!

We’ve been packing shoeboxes as a family for several years and it’s by far one of my favorite Thanksgiving/Christmas traditions because it’s a reminder to be grateful.  It’s a way to shift our focus off of getting and onto giving.

For the past two years, we’ve been trying something new as a family.  Every single time I went into the Wal-Mart to pile up on groceries, I bought a few items for shoeboxes.  It only added about $5 to $6 to my weekly grocery budget and I could do less or more as I needed to or was able to.

Last year, I chose a different two ‘theme’ items to focus on each month.

In 2015, we decided to spend all year buying toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap, with some occasional stuffed toys, pencils, notebooks and flip-flops thrown in.
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Then, every two months or so, I loaded up a bag of the supplies we had collected and dropped them off at our church where we have a room set aside for OCC supplies.

Next week, our church will host a packing party.  In addition to the individual boxes we can pack at home, we’ll use the bulk supplies we’ve collected as a church family and pack as many shoeboxes as we possibly can by working together.

My husband and some of the families at church even made a fun video about how packing parties are different from packing individual boxes.  Please check it out here:

If your church has a packing party, would you consider picking one or two items to buy at the store each time you go?

I hope that you’ve packed a shoebox before and are making one again this year!  If not, here’s everything you need to know to get involved in Operation Christmas Child as an individual even if your church is not hosting a packing party.
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 important of all, pray for the child who will receive your shoebox!  Prayer is so powerful.  Don’t just send stuff, send gifts along with time spent on your knees.

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!

There are so many opportunities to give every holiday season, but this is my very favorite.  I hope you’ll make Operation Christmas Child a part of your holiday traditions, as well!

Do you have any great ideas or stories about Operation Christmas Child to share with us?

 

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.