If you are part of a church organization, chances are you have heard of Operation Christmas Child. Samaritan’s Purse is based upon the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). Many passed by a hurting man but the Samaritan rescued him. “Go and do likewise.”, Jesus told His followers. Samaritan’s Purse embodies the mission to “go and do likewise.” They provide help and hope where it is most needed via Operation Christmas Child.
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Samaritan’s Purse provides international relief. Some of their missions include disaster relief in the United States, the Children’s Heart Project, Operation Heal Our Patriots, a world medical mission, water, sanitation, and hygiene missions, women’s programs, and construction projects. Operation Christmas Child is one mission on their extensive list of making a positive difference in the world.
Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child is a faith-based mission that serves children in need. Children receive a shoebox filled with essentials as well as prayers. Each sender is asked to provide hygiene essentials such as a hairbrush, toothbrush, underwear, soap, and bandaids, one wow item such as a stuffed animal, ball, or outfit, is to be included as well. Other suggested items include a small musical instrument, reusable utensils, a reusable water bottle, hair bows, flip flops, sunglasses, hats, notebooks, a slinky, a hacky sack, frisbee, markers, crayons, and coloring books. Senders are encouraged to include a personal photo of their family if they wish to do so. Simply choose a gender and age then fill the shoebox with goodies.
How To Pack A Shoebox
Step one: Find a shoebox. It is fun for the recipient if you gift wrap the shoebox.
TIP: Wrap the top and bottom of the shoebox separately if it is not attached as above.
Step two: Decide whether you want your Operation Christmas Child gift to gift to a girl or boy. Age range options include 2-4, 5-9, and 10-14.
Step three: Fill with goodies. Check out their website for specific guidelines on gift ideas and what is not allowed here.
Step four: Pray. Pray for the child who will be receiving your shoebox. Pray for their family and their community. Include a photo of you and your family, if desired, so the child can see who sent love and prayers their way.
Step five: Pay for shipping. If you pay online you will have the option to track your package.
Step six: Take your Operation Christmas Child shoebox to a designated drop-off location. For a list of locations, visit Operation Christmas Child’s dropoff locations.
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Operation Christmas Child Off-Limit Items
While choosing goodies for your shoebox, keep in mind that your package is going to a child in desperate need. Many of the recipients live in areas that have been demolished by war. Be sensitive to their possible surroundings and keep in mind that the purpose of your gift is to make a positive difference in their life while providing the essentials along with prayers. Do not include any items related to war such as toy guns, knives, or any military-related items.
Food is not permitted. The contents of your shoebox could be potentially ruined by melted chocolate. There is a great risk that food can spoil and you could not possibly know the recipient’s dietary needs, restrictions, allergies, or cultural allowances. As with food, do not include candy. Only new items should be included. Do not include used items or anything that is not in perfect condition. Since your package will travel a great distance, do not include any fragile items or anything that is breakable. Vitamins and supplements are not acceptable items, nor are lotions, toothpaste, and aerosol cans.
Get Others Involved
Operation Christmas Child allows you to truly pay it forward during the Christmas season. A small act of kindness such as filling a shoebox with a toy, living essentials, and saying prayers for the child goes way beyond what you would expect. The children receiving your gift need it most. For this reason, it would be great to recruit others to get involved. You could start a tradition of having an Operation Christmas Child packing party.
Have your church members participate if they do not yet do so. Volunteer to be the Operation Christmas Child coordinator. Girl and boy scout groups, youth clubs, sports teams, dance teams, and any other group you may be affiliated with could all participate in a fun communal way. Have a girl’s night with your friends and pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Have your coworkers hop on board and have an Operation Christmas Child drive at a work. Have a packing party in your neighborhood and get everyone involved! The possibilities are endless.
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Whether you realize it or not, the small gesture of packing a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child makes a huge impact on the life of a child. Their family is in turn directly impacted, rippling the positive effect into their community. Operation Christmas Child is a fabulous tradition to begin with your own friends and family.
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