It’s that time of year again: time to take a special shopping trip, pack a shoebox of Christmas gifts for a child in a developing nation, in preparation for Operation Christmas Child.
The famous event, held each year by the international aid organisation Samaritans Purse, aims to reach children in need with a gift that paves the way for them to hear the gospel message.
The steps to packing a shoebox are simple:
- Find an average-size shoebox made of either cardboard or plastic. If you want to wrap it, cover the box and lid separately.
- Decide whether you will pack a box for a girl or a boy, and the age category: 2–4, 5–9, or 10–14.
- Select a medium to large “wow!” item – like a soccer ball with a pump, or a plush toy, then fill with other fun toys, hygiene items, and school supplies. See gift suggestions below.
- Pray for the child who will receive your gift. This is the most important step, says Samaritan’s Purse! You can also include a personal note and photo.
All kids who receive a shoebox of gifts will have an opportunity, with their parent’s permission, to enrol in The Greatest Journey – a fun, 12-lesson faith-based program. Led by local teachers, it helps children become grounded in the Christian faith and in sharing the gospel with others. Those who finish the course also receive a certificate and a New Testament Bible in their own language.
With the school holidays approaching, it’s a good chance to take the kids shopping, and together collect the items needed. Shoebox dropoff then happens throughout the month of “OCCtober”. Find your nearest Drop Off Point at the OCC website.
What Gifts To Pack In My Shoebox
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Just grab a regular sized shoebox, wrap it in colourful paper, and fill it with simple gifts from the categories listed below.
- Something to wear
- Something to play with
- Something for school
- Something to love
- Something special
- Something for personal hygiene
What Not to Pack
There are some specific items that are either unsuitable for the children in the OCC program or unsuitable for shipping. They include:
- Items that contain liquids and could leak
- Food or lollies
- Second hand items
- Breakable Items
- Any items that can scare or harm a child
- Gambling related items
- Anything of a religious, racial or political nature
- Anything related to war, or toy weapons