Operation Christmas Child is a project for all ages! You can get the boys and girls in your family and at your church involved in so many ways. Read these packing tips and stories from shoebox packers across the country.
1. Collect Items & Write Shoebox Notes
Helping a child select items for a shoebox gift can teach money management, as well as a greater awareness of children in need. Including personal notes enhances the experience of praying for the shoebox recipient.
Amy Ashberry, an Operation Christmas Child volunteer in Mathews, Virginia, organizes shoebox shopping trips for children. She creates checklists for the children to use as a shopping guide to make it easy and fun. During one outing, 19 kids and six chaperones traveled to a local store on a former school bus dubbed “The Shoebox Mobile.” The banner on the side of the bus caught the attention of a couple of people in the store parking lot, resulting in them giving donations to the cause. The group was able to pack 100 shoeboxes in all!
2. Pack Shoeboxes as a Family
Children can offer unique perspectives on what kinds of gifts kids their age would like.
Kim Sawyer’s grandchildren have inspired what they pack in shoebox gifts together, from a doll with a handmade blanket to toy cars. It was her 10-year-old granddaughter who encouraged her to start packing themed shoeboxes, beginning with a soccer focus. “It’s so fun to see her get so excited about gifting something to another child,” Kim said. “That’s the best part.”
As you pack, pray over your shoeboxes. Each shoebox represents a child that will hear that Gospel, and who’s life might be changed for eternity.
3. Share the Importance of Generosity
You can use shoebox packing to teach the children in your life about God, His generosity, and ways they can share His love with others.
In Washington state, Faith Carpenter and her three children have joined forces with another mom and kids in their community to pack shoeboxes and fund Follow Your Box. They sell baked goods as part of the neighborhood’s yearly garage sale. This year at their sixth annual bake sale, they raised a record high of $450.“
Shoebox gifts are a way for my children to reach out to a boy or girl somewhere in the world,” Faith said. “It’s fun for them to put together a box and to see for themselves what a boy or girl will hold in their hands.”
4. Share Christ with Children Right Here
From activity ideas to the GREATEST JOURNEY(TM) mobile game app, Samaritan’s Purse offers many family and children’s resources for free download to teach children on this side of the shoebox about God’s Greatest Gift, Jesus Christ.
Amie Winstead, an Operation Christmas Child Area Coordinator in Tennessee, has held shoebox packing events at her church, inviting community youth to participate as a service project. For children, she uses the “Let’s Be Friends” free resource that can be ordered in color or downloaded as a coloring sheet. She has often made it a point to help a child fill out the shoebox note. This helps her get to know them better and learn where they are spiritually. In addition to finding out about the child’s favorite color, food, and activity, the sheet includes space to write what their favorite Bible story is and why they love Jesus.
Operation Christmas Child is great to use as an outreach to share the Gospel with your community. It exposes children to the Gospel on this side of the box.”
National Collection Week is almost here! It’s time to prepare shoebox gifts, learn more at samaritanspurse.org/occ