Imagine the sheer joy on the face of a needy child opening a Christmas box; then imagine you’re the reason the child gets to experience that joy. It’s possible through Operation Christmas Child.
The international project collects donations of shoe boxes filled with school supplies, hygiene items and toys for children living in poverty in other countries. There are instructions at www.samaritanspurse.org on how to fill a shoe box, but it’s easy and fulfilling for people of all ages.
Last year, members of the Boys & Girls Club in Globe filled many shoeboxes.
“It was a sobering moment when many of our members realized that many kids in other countries have never received even one gift at Christmas,” said Aimee Staten, executive director of the youth club, which is now called Cobre Valley Youth Club. “We had been dealing with several members who were mad that they hadn’t gotten everything on their Christmas lists from years before. This was a perfect way to teach them about gratefulness.”
This year, each Club kid is a members of a tribe, which will compete to fill shoe boxes. Churches, families, individuals, classes and teams are encouraged to pick up boxes from McSpadden and fill them for the sake of children in need.
Donors simply need to decide whether the box is for a boy or a girl, then decide the age category: 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14. The next step is to fill the shoe box with gifts. A medium to large “wow” item like a soccer ball with a pump or a stuffed animal is a good place to start. The rest of the box can be stuffed with school supplies, hygiene items and other fun stuff.
The fourth step is to pray for the child who will receive the gift. People are even encouraged to include a personal note and photo to the child.
The last step is to donate $9 online at the Samaritan’s Purse, print the box label and follow it to its destination.
There are several types of items that should not be included in shoe boxes, including anything containing liquid, toothpaste, pocketknives and saws. A complete list of suggested gifts is included on the web site. Camouflage clothing and squirt guns can be included as long as they do not make the child wearing or using them look like actual soldiers. Candy is also not allowed because of customs regulations.
Shoe boxes can be picked up starting now. They will be collected Nov. 13-20. See https://www.samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/drop-off-locations/ for specific collection times.