Christmas Shoebox Packing Party –
Operation Christmas Child is an international outreach project of Samaritan’s Purse. This non-denominational effort distributes shoebox gifts to over 100 different countries worldwide. Churches, organizations, and individuals pack shoeboxes with goodies and necessities to bless children in desperation. These shoeboxes are collected from various drop-off centers and shipped to areas in need. Pastors and churches throughout the world then distribute these Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and introduce the hope of the Gospel to the recipients.
The Operation Christmas Child program has been going on for many years, but this is only the second year our church has participated in packing shoeboxes. Last year our shoeboxes were an individual effort. Members of the congregation took shoeboxes home, shopped for items, filled the shoeboxes, and brought them back on the designated Sunday. Several people from our church did that again this year. However, we decided it might be fun to get all of the youth group involved with packing shoeboxes as well, so we held an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing Party last Sunday evening.
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Operation Christmas Child Shopping Trip
Before we could have the party, we had to shop. I purchased most of the items I was tasked with buying at Dollar Tree. There are so many great items available, all for just $1.
Buying all the items we could at Dollar Tree allowed us to pack more boxes than we could have if paying higher prices.
My oldest daughter and my youngest were excellent shopping helpers.
Some Items Are More Economical to Buy Online
I also ordered this bulk package of 100 bars of hotel soap from Amazon. They are scheduled to arrive tomorrow, so I’ll be adding several to each shoebox before we send them off on their journey. [Update: The bars I ordered were smaller than I had imagined. They were about half the size of the ones I normally see at hotels. The volume was clearly listed as 0.5 ounces. I just didn’t realize how small 0.5 ounces actually is. I’ve changed the affiliate link attached to the photo to reach the 1 oz bars that I should have purchased instead for the shoeboxes. The text link above still goes to the smaller ones I bought which are actually the perfect size to take to the bathhouse while camping.]
Amazon also sells bulk toothbrushes for reasonable prices. Although I did not order them this year because we had already picked up several from Dollar Tree, I plan to buy the bulk box of 144 from Amazon next year.
Preparing for the Shoebox Packing Party
On Sunday morning, we sorted everything in the fellowship hall and added it to the items my sister had purchased.
That evening we gathered all the youth.
The kids worked very hard folding the teddy bears using the steps from the Washcloth Teddy Bear DIY we shared last week.
They also created handwritten notes letting their shoebox recipients know their name, age, and that they would be praying for him/her. These notes included a tracing of each child’s hand. We decided to add these because I’m part of a very large worldwide homeschooling Facebook group where many of the members are missionaries who have witnessed the distribution of these shoeboxes. Those with firsthand experience seem to agree that handwritten messages and pictures from the givers are some of the most cherished items to the children who receive these boxes.
We will include a picture of the group as well as a photo of the individual child who packed that Operation Christmas Child Shoebox in each box. Sorry, the photos look like mug shots! I promise they haven’t been arrested.
Better to Give Than to Receive
The kids had a great time packing their Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes. We think this allowed them to be more involved with the giving process this year.
. . . remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35 KJV)
We had a nice lesson about the desperate need in other areas. If you would like to get involved with Operation Christmas Child, you can find more information on the Samaritan’s Purse website. All the information about what items to include and dropoff locations can be found here. Each box must be accompanied by either $9 cash or confirmation information from a $9 online payment to cover the cost of transporting the shoebox to its destination.
The Greatest Gift
Just imagine the joy each child will experience when receiving a Christmas shoebox, and these modest material gifts will pale in comparison to the eternal joy each could receive when the Gospel is shared alongside these Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.
Do you participate in Operation Christmas Child? Let us know what types of items you include in your shoebox in the comments.
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Also, see our Washcloth Teddy Bear DIY for an easy and inexpensive project to include in your Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.