(Edit from 2011: This year National Collection Week is November 14-21)
This is an outreach program powered by Samaritan Purse also called the Shoebox Ministry.
Samaritan Purse was founded in 1970 by Bob Pierce on the foundation of Luke 10-37 which is the Story of the Good Samaritan. Franklin Graham took over after Bob Pierce died on Leukemia. Samaritan Purse provides not just Operation Christmas Child but also HIV/Aids Prescription for Hope and Haiti Rebuilding Program among others programs.
In 2009 eight million children have received a shoebox packed with “goodies” like a toothbrush or a hairbrush according to their webpage. Boxes were distributed to a hundred and thirty countries since 1993.
You see filling up a shoebox is inexpensive but an excellent outreach ministry to point children from all over the world to Jesus. On top of it your child will feel important when you let her/him chose how she/he can bless a child. Children will get into the real spirit of Christmas. Instead of receiving they learn to give. Samaritan Purse adds a Bible in their native language to every shoebox.
Here is how to do it.
1. Use a Standard Size Shoe Box (Or use a Plastic Container from the Dollar Store).
2. Wrap Lid and Box individually (You don’t have to wrap it.).
3. Choose the age category (2-4) (5-9) (10-14) and gender of the recipient (see webpage).
4. Buy Stationary Items like a box of Crayons, Pencils or Markers.
5. Include Paper or Coloring Book.
6. If you send pencils don’t forget the sharpener (I see it every year) and erasers
7.Buy one toy appropriate for gender and age like stuffed animal, race cars, trucks, baby doll, flashlight (with batteries), Stickers
8. Add necessity items like toothbrushes, tooth paste, bar soap (put in zip lock bag), washcloth, Deodorant (if appropriate for age)
9. If you still have room in the box you might want to ad flip flops, t-shirt, underwear, socks, scarf, hat, Gloves
10. Hard Candy or Gum is an excellent gift for ages four and up.
1. Toys which resembles weapons, war, soldiers or figures holding weapons.
2. Liquids and snow globes
3. Used Items
4. Food, Vitamins, Medicines
5. Easy breakable things like porcelain figures
10. Add your name and address with a personal note or download interactive sheets from the webpage introducing your family. (Giving out this information is completely voluntarily) You might get a note back.
11. Add a check written to Samaritan Purse for seven dollars. Please put in the Memo Operation Christmas Child. (It cost about seven dollars to ship a box). Place it visible on top.If you want to track where your box is going you can go online and pay via their secure webpage. Download the code and place it on your box.
12. Secure your box with two rubber bands.
13. Place the downloaded label telling them if it is for boy or girl and the age category on the box.
14. Samaritan Purse ask you to pray over the box before you drop it off
15. Find a location on this webpage.
If you like this ministry it is best to watch for sales over the entire year especially for back to school sales, after Christmas and Easter sales. You get more boxes if you join or organize a packing party. For example you can buy the pack of pencils for a dollar in a dollar store. The other person brings three bars of soap from the Dollar Store. The box of pencils can be broken up and so does the pack of soap and you started three boxes for two dollars blessing three children.
In the past I dropped off some things whenever I purchased something to a Lady who loves the shoebox ministry. This was so easy and didn’t hurt my wallet at all because I did it whenever I saw something inexpensive on sale. However my daughter wanted to pack her own box. So we went to the dollar store last weekend and we got a plush dog, crayons, a coloring book, a glitter ball, wipes, and tooth brush with tooth paste, stickers for seven dollar. I happened to have a pack of light sticks at home which I included.
This year I am going to have a Birthday Party for Jesus where Kids bring those items as presents to Jesus.
For more information call 1-800-353-5949 or go to this webpage.
This article was written in 2010 but I made some updates for 2011.