One of our family’s favorite Christmas traditions is to pick an organization to donate to in some way around the holidays. Usually at this time of year that means having the kids help with donating gifts. In the past this has taken the form of toys for tots, operation santa claus, donations to our local homeless shelter and the list goes on. This year we have chosen Operation Christmas Child. Click on their link to read more about them, but in short Operation Christmas Child is an outreach program under Samaritan’s Purse. The idea being to send God’s love and the spirit of Christmas to children who might not otherwise experience it by filling a shoebox with toys, necessities, school supplies and treats.
We chose this particular organization because in addition to the mission behind it we knew it would be something the kids could be 100% involved in. I knew they would love it and they did! Filling a box was very manageable for them. Mr. A was most excited by the fact he was able to shop for someone his own age so he felt like he knew exactly what he should put in it. When building a shoebox you get to choose whether a boy or girl will receive your gift and you also choose an age range. Age ranges are 2-4, 5-9 and 10-14. I love this because our kids can essentially build a box for a child in their own age group, if that’s what they choose. Mr. A is 9 and he chose to build a box for a boy age 10-14 and we had C building a box for a boy age 2-4. You can even include a personal note in the box and find out what country your shoebox ends up in if you make your shipping donation online. (Mr. A is all over that).
What we did was hit Target and pick up a few plastic shoe boxes. Then, we let the kids shop the store and fill them (with a little guidance of course). There are a few things that can’t go in the boxes like liquids, chocolate, or anything breakable but other than that just about anything that fits in the box qualifies. There’s a guide on their website as to how to pack a shoebox to help you out. We printed that and brought it with us for inspiration. The kids had their shoeboxes half filled simply by hitting the dollar spot. It was fantastic! So much fun, and so heartwarming to see them thinking of others. We included things like socks, crayons, notepads, balls, toy cars, hard candy, toothbrushes & toothpaste and the list goes on.
Mr. C is still young and I wasn’t sure if he would quite get the concept but he totally did. He very specifically chose a few of the toys that are in his shoebox including the little soccer ball you see in there. When he spotted it in the store he immediately picked it up and said “this in box”. The night we went shopping as I was tucking him into bed he said ‘girl like it’ ‘girl like toys’… never mind that his box was for a boy. But, he was remembering what I said about making a Christmas box for another boys or girl.
C has the best heart. Just look how happy he is to be gifting that little soccer ball. Not once has he tried to dismantle the boxes or play with any of the toys in them and they have been sitting out in the open for a few days now. He didn’t balk at putting one item in the box. I’m so proud of him 🙂 He’ll admire the contents from time to time and talk about them a bit but that’s it.
I wanted to share this with you because the National drop off week for Operation Christmas Child is right around the corner. Nov 18th-25th. If you are interested in participating it really is such a wonderful and fulfilling experience for the kids and doesn’t require a lot of time so you can still fill a box if you would like. Check their website to see if there’s a drop of location near you. I had just as much fun filling shoeboxes as the kids did. I can’t wait to get Little E involved next year and then our whole family will each be able to fill a shoebox. We will, without a doubt be doing this again next year. And quite likely the year after that.
If you are looking for an organization to give to this holiday season and can find a way to fill and drop off a shoebox this coming week I really hope you will take a look at Operation Christmas Child. If there’s no drop of location near you but you still want to build a box they have an option to do so online.
This post is not sponsored by Operation Christmas Child or Samiritan’s Purse in any way. It’s just a program that I feel passionately about and want to help spread the word.