Thursday, November 21, 2013

National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child

I'm sure you've heard of Operation Christmas Child before. I didn't realize until recently that this ministry is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. During the past 20 years, Operation Christmas Child has provided more than 100 million shoeboxes to children in need around the world! Wow! That's a lot of children who have been helped through the years! (In case you're wondering, if you stacked all those boxes on top of each other, that would be more than 26,000 times taller than the Empire State Building!)

Hubs and I packed our shoeboxes over the weekend and had a great time doing it. It's so much fun to shop and try to think of little things that might bring a smile to a child's face or just let them know that someone, somewhere is praying for them. This week is National Collection Week (November 18-25), so you still have plenty of time to pack a box and drop it off at one of the collection sites around the country.

I know sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming to try to figure out where to start, so I thought I'd give you a step-by-step for what WE did to give you a few ideas. Of course, feel free to do whatever works best for YOU!

Here are some really simple steps on how to pack a shoebox, complete with gift suggestions (and a few restrictions).

We decided to pack 4 boxes total—2 boys and 2 girls, ages 5-9.

We went to the Dollar Store and Wal-Mart to get everything we needed. You could probably get everything at one place, but both stores were a little picked over. See the pics below to see exactly what we got where. :)

 We started with the basics: washcloth, toothpaste, toothbrush, bar of soap, comb.

Then added a few school/art supplies: pencils, pencil sharpener, stickers, construction paper, crayons, colored pencils

Then we added in some purely fun stuff: candy, puzzle, bouncy ball, yo-yo, play dough, plastic spoon and fork, headbands (for the girls), Hot Wheels (for the boys).

We then wrote a quick note to let the child know that we were praying for them and wanted them to know the love of Jesus (including our address, so they can write back if they like!), tucked in a picture of us, and closed up the box.

We went online to pay the $7 donation per box to help it get where it needs to go. The online payment option allows you to track your box and see where it ends up. Very cool! Once we paid, we printed the label, taped it to the box, and put a rubber band around it. And then we delivered it to one of the collection centers near us. (Here's a complete list, searchable by city/state or zip code.)

Pretty simple, right?! This is a fairly simple and inexpensive way to give to those in need this Christmas. If you want more information, check out the Operation Christmas Child site.

And if you'd like even more info, here's a FUNNY video from Uncle Si (who doesn't love Duck Dynasty?!) with a few more tips on packing a box. (And here are more videos from Uncle Si.) Enjoy!

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