It’s Operation Christmas Child time again!  Drop-off week is November 14-21.  So grab a shoebox & start stuffing!

What is Operation Christmas Child?

Operation Christmas Child brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes and the Good News of God’s love. This program of Samaritan’s Purse provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple, hands-on missions project while focusing on the true meaning of Christmas—Jesus Christ, God’s greatest gift. Along with shoe box gifts, millions of children are given Gospel booklets in their own language. In 2004, we collected over 7 million shoe box gifts worldwide and distributed them to children in 95 countries.

In 2003, the Rock’s mission team had the honor of distributing Operation Christmas Child boxes to a remote village in Honduras. It was so beautiful watching the children gather for their gifts & share the contents.  We did a gospel puppet presentation for the children & their parents as well as a drama depicting the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

How to pack a shoe box (from the Samaritan’s Purse website):

1.  Find an empty shoe box, or similar size box with a separate lid.

2.  Decide whether the gift will be for a boy or girl, and choose an age category: (2-4), (5-9), (10-14).  Attach the appropriate boy/girl label on the top of your box & mark the correct age category.

3.  Fill your box with a variety of gifts:

  • Toys:  small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, plastic kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, small Etch A Sketch, toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries), Slinky, etc.
  • School supplies: pens, pencils & sharpener, crayons or markers, coloring books, writing pads, solar calculators, etc.
  • Hygiene items: toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, comb, washcloth, etc.
  • Other: hard candy, lollipops, mints, gum, sunglasses, flashlights (with extra batteries, ball caps, socks, t-shirts, hair clips, watches, small picture books, etc.

4.  Do NOT include any of the following items:

  • used items
  • war-related items (toy guns, toy soldiers, knives, etc.)
  • Perishable items (chocolate, canned foods, crackers, etc.)
  • Liquids (shampoo, lotion, bubbles, etc.)
  • Breakable items (mirrors, china dolls, etc.)

You may enclose a note to the child & a photo of yourself or your family.  (If you include your name & address, the child who recieves your box may write back to you).

5.  Print out the form.  Place it, along with your donation, inside an envelope.  (Checks are recommended and should be made payable to Samaritan’s Purse.  Gifts are tax deductable to the full extent allowed by law.)  If you are sending a note or photo to a child, put it inside your box, not inside this envelope.  Place sealed envelope on top of gifts inside completed box.

My own tips:

I usually include a wide variety of items in my shoeboxes.  A few things not listed on Samaritan’s Purse’s list that I’ve noticed go over well on my mission trips are:

  • jump rope, marbles, jacks, plastic cup, beanie baby, toy animals, stickers, shoe laces, puzzle, small poster, postcard of your home town, map of world with your hometown marked.

And some things to keep in mind:

  • Most of the world’s children are not caucasion (and girls like dolls that look like them!).
  • You don’t know what kind of climate your box is going to (I saw a child in 95 degree Honduras unwrap some woolly mittens).
  • The child may only have access to an English-speaker the day they recieve their gift (so don’t send books in English).
  • Don’t send anything very valuable that may spark jealousy among the children (ie. jewelry, very nice watch, electronic gadgets)
  • If you send your address, don’t be disappointed if you don’t hear back, many of these children live far away from the nearest post office.

WHERE TO DROP OFF A SHOE BOX IN COLUMBIA:

Family Worship Center, 4925 East Bonne Femme Church Road, Columbia, MO 65201

Hours: Tues – Sun: 9:00am – 3:00pm (closed on Mondays)

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