It’s early evening, and we just finished up dinner. The kids’ toys are strewn about and there are clothes being washed and dried in the laundry room. It’s chilly out, so we have the heater on. The TV is on and Dora the Explorer is keeping the girls entertained, while Ethan is playing on the iPad. They don’t know what it’s like to be hungry, cold, and just trying to get by. We are blessed. Which is why I made the decision to introduce the kids to Operation Christmas Child this year.
When I told Jason about it, he decided to ask Ethan a question.
Jason: Ethan do you know there are some little kids who have any toys at all? Not any?
Ethan: There are?
Jason: Yes. Do you think maybe you would like to tell Santa that instead of bringing you one of the toys you want he could give it to another little boy who doesn’t have any toys?
Ethan: Why would I want to do that?
You see, trying to teach a five year old and two 3-year-olds virtues like kindness, generosity and compassion, is not something you can just explain. They just don’t get it. And if you’re kids are like mine, they are spoiled and are always thinking “I want”. They need to learn through experience, not words. So we headed out to Big Lots and I told each of them that they could decide what they wanted to put in the boxes.
I picked up some things I wanted each child to have: toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and washcloths, but the kids were allowed to pick out the toys. Each of them gravitated towards the toys they themselves wanted, and I continued to tell them that this was about giving to other children who don’t have anything. And after picking a few things, I told them we had enough and should go home and put the gifts in the boxes.
“Can’t we make more boxes Mom? You said there were a lot of kids that didn’t have toys.” I looked into my son’s eyes and was so proud of him. He even suggested that we give some of his toys to the kids. The girls wanted to pack their own baby dolls and princess dresses. My heart has never been fuller and I know that they understood why we were doing what we were doing.
So how do you do it? It’s easy. There’s just 5 steps:
1. Use an empty shoebox (standard size, please) or a small plastic container. You can wrap the box (lid separately), but wrapping is not required.
2. Boy or Girl?
Determine whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the child’s age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. You can download a label online or click the Follow Your Box option to get a special label to learn the destination of you shoe box gift.
Fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child such as toys, school supplies, and hygiene items. A list of suggested gift items is available here.
4. Donate $7
Please donate $7 or more for each shoe box you prepare to help cover shipping and other project costs. You can give online by using our Follow Your Box option, or you can write a check to Samaritan’s Purse (note “OCC” on memo line) and place it in anenvelope on top of the gift items inside your box. If you or your family are preparing more than one shoebox, please make one combined donation.
5. Drop Off
Click here to find the closest drop-off location to you and drop off your box during OCC’s National Collection Week, Nov. 12-19, 2012.
Yep, the 19th is the last day that you can drop-off a box. But guess what? If you don’t have the time to get it done this year, you can you can go to Operation Christmas Child website and build a virtual box. You can pick and choose what kinds of goods go in the box from a virtual store front. You will still be making another child happy even if you can’t do it all yourself.
Is this something that you want to do? Make sure to pledge your commitment below to build a box today!
This holiday season build a box with your family to teach kindness, compassion, and generosity.