When I started attending my small church 10 years ago, I was instantly intrigued by how much they wanted to give. Not only does my church believe in giving to the community around us, they believed in reaching the world.
One Sunday a year we fill 1,500 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.
What is Operation Christmas Child?
Operation Christmas Child is an amazing non-profit organization run by Samaritan’s Purse. They believe in the Bible verses – Luke 10:30-38, which has to do with being a Good Samaritan.
For over 40 years, Samaritan’s Purse has done our utmost to follow Christ’s command by going to the aid of the world’s poor, sick, and suffering. We are an effective means of reaching hurting people in countries around the world with food, medicine, and other assistance in the Name of Jesus Christ.
They want to help people all around the world. Operation Christmas Child is just one of the amazing things they do. With the organization, they want to spread the love of Christ to children who may never get a Christmas gift. These boxes literally go all around the world, to some very remote places on the planet. “The power of a simple gift” can change someone’s life.
How does my church do it?
My church gathers supplies year round with the help of eBay, sales at stores, warehouses and donations. The Saturday before the big build, we unload all the supplies and build the assembly line:
All ready to go!
I have personally, as well as many of my church family- spent the morning preparing. Every pencil must have an eraser. Gloves need to be torn from the packaging. Notebook boxes need to be opened and stacked. Cups need to have the plastic packaging removed. It is lots of work that’s SO rewarding.
Sunday. It’s time to build! It’s without a doubt one of my favorite mornings of the year. My daughter, Ellie, also gets into it. She loves to pick out her favorite color toothbrush to put in the box. She enjoyed going around in the assembly line a few times. My husband helps with the truck loading. My heart is always so full when we serve together as a family.
Me with my girl
How can you help?
Build a shoebox! You can use Rubbermaid containers or get boxes from their Web site. Here is a great list of items you can put in the shoeboxes based on age and gender. Anything from toys, balls, small games, toiletries and even clothes can be placed into the box. Also, keep in mind that some things are not allowed in the shoeboxes and they are listed on the site as well (Example- chocolate because it could melt).
I love to make a simple personalized note in three different languages (Google Translate is a great resource for this). Simple phrases like, “Merry Christmas! Love ( your family’s name)” are so powerful. The top three languages spoken around the world are English, Spanish and French. That way, the child who receives the box can understand.
HERE is a video of two girls opening boxes in Thailand. Laughing and smiling. Sooooo cute.
HERE is another video of highlights from the this year. It really hits you in the heart.
Photo and Video Credits- Melisande Weidner/Samaritan’s Purse/YouTube