Guess what time it is???
It’s time for OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD!!! **Throws confetti**
Operation Christmas Child is an amazing program.
In case this is your first time hearing about it, OCC is a branch of Samaritan’s Purse, which is an international relief organization that helps hurting people and tells people about Jesus. Pretty cool, right?
More specifically, OCC is made up of people, like you and me, filling shoe boxes with simple items. (More on these boxes in a bit.) OCC then processes these boxes and ships them off to different parts of the world. Next, they pass them out to children, ages 2-14, in different villages. For most of these children, this is their very first Christmas present.
After they open their shoe box, the children are able to take part in a discipleship program, where they learn all about the good news of Jesus. So when you give a shoe box, not only are you providing a child with simple pleasures, but you’re also paving the way for them to learn how to have an eternal relationship with Jesus.
I’d like to introduce y’all to someone very special to me.
Meet Glinda Harbison:
When I was in the children’s department at my church, Glinda was my church’s children’s minister. She was one of the most influential people in my life when I was young. After I became a Christian at the age of seven, Mrs. Glinda (as I politely called her) discipled me for several weeks after that. She laid a foundation for my walk with Christ.
Mrs. Glinda loved children. Children all around the world. Soon after OCC was created, Mrs. Glinda heard about it and took the idea to my church’s pastor. “We need to be doing this,” she said.
And that started my church’s annual OCC shoe box drive.
Every year, I remember Mrs. Glinda walking up on stage with a shoe box in her hand. She would set the box on the pulpit and proceed to unpack it, item by item, sharing what we could put in our shoe boxes. I remember sitting there utterly captivated; I couldn’t wait until my family went shoe box shopping.
Mrs. Glinda would challenge our congregation to pack one more shoe box than we did the year before. Just one more. It doesn’t seem like much. But one more shoe box packed means one more child will be reached.
Just one more.
Mrs. Glinda died of heart failure the fall of 2013.
In her memory, I ask you: Will you pack one more box this year?
In case OCC is a completely new idea for you, I’d like to share you can send a shoe box to a child in need and what to include in that shoe box.
How to send a shoe box…
- Find a shoe box (or purchase a clear plastic shoe box at Walmart or the Dollar Tree. I like to do this so the boxes will last if the kids decide to fill them with water).
- Decide if your box will be for a boy or a girl, and choose an age group: 2-4, 5-9, 10-14.
- Collect small items (list below) to put in your shoe box. These items DO NOT have to be expensive. You can shop at the Dollar Tree or in the dollar section at Target. Buy in bulk and spread your items among multiple boxes.
- Pack your shoe box.
- Optional: Write a letter to your child and include a picture of yourself/your family. On their website, OCC provides a fill-in-the-blank letter you can print out and fill out or have your kid fill out, if you have kids. I love doing these fill-in-the-blank letters. You can even color them, or you can leave the pictures blank so your OCC child can color it!!
- Place TWO rubber bands around your shoe box to help keep the lid on.
- Print out a label from the OCC website (they have a label for boy boxes and a label for girl boxes). Then mark which age group your box is for. You can sign up for a tracking label, if you want, and OCC will e-mail you the country that your box was shipped to.
- Find a drop off location near you (<<click the link to see the listing) and drop your box off during Shoe Box Collection Week- November 16-23, 2015.
Note: It is suggested that you include a $7 donation in your shoe box to help pay for shipping. This is very helpful, but it is optional. You can also do this online, if you’d like.
**Shoe boxes are due Nov. 16-23, 2015**
What to pack in your shoe box…
School supplies: Pens, pencils, erasers, a pencil sharpener, crayons/markers/colored pencils, a note pad or paper, coloring books, stickers, ect.
Toys: Small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, ect.
Note: Even if you pack a box for a 10-14 year old child, you can still include a stuffed animal or a doll, even if you think they may be too old for it. This could be their very first doll/stuffed animal. In fact, I personally believe that every box should have a stuffed animal.
Hygiene Items: Toothbrush, toothpaste, a bar of soap (HINT: Ivory soap FLOATS– so I always prefer to use this brand of soap), comb, hairbrush, washcloth, hair accessories, ect.
Other: T-shirts, bandanna, socks, ball caps, sunglasses, toy jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries), hard candy (HINT: put it in a ziplock bag so it won’t taste like soap), ect.
A Personal Note: As I said above, you can include a personal note to the child and a picture of yourself or your family. Also, if you include your name and address, your child may write back. (When my brother was in the 2nd grade, he got a letter back from a child who lived in Mexico. He was so excited!!)
DO NOT INCLUDE: Used or damaged items, war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures, chocolate or food, out-of-date candy, liquids or lotions, medicine or vitamins, breakable items such as snow globes, aerosol cans.
Wondering which age group to pack for?
Statistically, 10-14 boys have the least amount of shoe boxes packed for them. So if you can’t decide what age to pack for, consider packing for a 10-14 year old boy.
Or maybe make that age group your additional box.
I encourage you to pack one more box this year than you did last year. Pack one more box than you were originally planning to.