Have you heard of Operation Christmas Child? Last year over eight million children around the world received a shoe box full of Christmas gifts, school supplies, and health and hygiene items. Run annually by the Samaritan’s Purse ministry, the program’s mission is “to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.”
Individuals and churches buy small gifts and pack the shoeboxes each year. It’s one of the more fun bang-for-your-buck activities out there, and I loved doing it as a kid with my parents. Selecting gifts and necessities for a child their age is a great way to introduce kids to charitable giving and world missions. Preparing a box isn’t difficult or expensive. Our church has a potluck and collection night tomorrow for Operation Christmas Child. A little goes a long way. For $13 I got:
- Four boxes of 48 crayons each
- Two sacks of Jolly Ranchers
- Twelve combs
- Six matchbox cars
- One toy truck
- One slinky
- One ball
- Two packs of silly putty
- Eight markers
So scrape the change out of your car, take a trip to the dollar store, pack a shoebox, and drop it at a collection center or mail it to Samaritan’s Purse. Shoeboxes can be submitted through November 22nd. Samaritan’s Purse also accepts donations, both for Operation Christmas Child and their other programs including emergency relief, medical services and community building.
Not only is it a good thing, it’s also fun roaming the toy aisle without an adult crushing your greedy gimme’s with comments like “don’t touch that”, “no we can’t take that home”, “you already have one”, “why don’t you wait and ask for it for your birthday”, and “stop whining.” It came fifteen years late, but I’m finally set free in the toy shop.