Justin and I got married in December of 2009 and that same year we started the tradition of giving gifts to kids around the globe though Samaritan’s Purse. The ministry is called “Operation Christmas Child”. It is a great way to spread love during the Christmas season. How it works is you pack a shoe box of goodies for a child (follow the instructions and tips from http://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/volunteer-with-occ/), then you print a trackable label from their site, and finally drop off the box or boxes at a specified donation site. My MOPS group is collecting boxes this Wednesday and making sure they get to the right place.
This year we got our kids involved! Each one is sending their shoebox gift to a child their same age and gender. When you go to the Samaritan’s Purse website, they allow you to select which age range and gender your box is intended for. The kids and I went shopping today to get the boxes well stocked!
The twins obviously don’t understand much right now, but Brielle understood. She was a great shopper for her little girl today! The boys either approved or disapproved of the items I presented them with. Of course, cars were their favorite! They did like these stuffed bears though too, and they were too cute!
Brielle knows her box will be going to another girl somewhere in the world who doesn’t have all the toys and nice things like she does. She also understood that we were helping to make that little girl’s Christmas special and let her know that is loved! Not only loved by us, but most importantly by Jesus. In each box, Samaritan’s Purse includes a booklet that contains the message of Jesus (in pictures and words).
Above is the box we packed for Brielle’s friend abroad. We started with plastic shoe boxes. Why? Because in my humanitarian/mission trips to Guatemala I found that plastic storage containers were greatly appreciated, as the few precious possessions they have could be protected from being damaged in rain. Many homes flood, as do schools. Plastic bins are great for storage and protection from the elements.
We always start our boxes with one “wow” item. Brielle’s little girl got a Rapunzel doll. I removed all packaging, as it takes up too much valuable space. I wrapped the doll in a ziplock to prevent the doll’s hair from getting messed up. The ziplock will be handy for reuse too, for whatever the little girl would like to keep dry or protected. Ziplocks! What a simple invention we take for granted!
We also included a crown, hair bows, hair ties, a dress, necklaces, sparkly pencils (along with pencil sharpeners), an activity book to go with the pencils, and tolitries. From my experience in helping in rural Guatemala I realized that basic toiletries are like gold! Therefore we packed a bar of soap, toothbrush, tooth paste, micro fiber hand towel, reusable water bottle (making sure to open and stuff that with goodies too, as it is space), and hairbrush in each of the boxes. Of course we added some hard candy in the extra nooks and crannies. What kid doesn’t like candy???
The boys chose stuffed bears for their boxes, along with balls, cars, mini books, and of course the toiletries. Their kids got some candy too. We made sure those boxes were filled to the max!
We will also include a personal note inside. I have always put our address in the boxes with the note. In the past we have actually gotten personal letters from a few of the recipients! Although some years I sent 10 or more boxes (odds were in our favor to hear back from at least one). We will do the same this year as well; including the note. I will let you know if we hear back!