If you haven’t heard of Operation Christmas Child, it is a charity project of Samaritan’s Purse and is the world’s largest Christmas project of its kind. This year, Operation Christmas Child will surpass delivering 200 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children around the world since it began in 1993! Shoeboxes have been delivered to more than 170 countries and territories around the world!
I remember packing shoeboxes when I was young and single in my twenties. It felt so good to be doing something nice for a child in need during the Christmas season. Now, more than twenty years later, my daughters love packing shoeboxes! It became a special tradition they did with their grandma for several years. They would typically pack 10-20 shoeboxes with her and were always excited about it. They enjoyed all the steps–from shopping to sorting to packing. Now that they are older, they do it with me. Here’s a cute YouTube video from a few years ago of them explaining how to pack a shoebox. Your kids might enjoy watching it. Whether you pack 1 box, 10 boxes or more, this is a great activity to consider doing with your kids this November. It’s a great way to get into the giving spirit as we head into December and the Christmas season approaches.
If you are new to Operation Christmas Child, here is some background information:
- For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received.
- In 2022, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach 11 million children.
- 2021 global collection total was 10.5 million.
- By working with churches around the world, Operation Christmas Child shares the Good News of God’s love and salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. The shoebox gifts bless the children and provide opportunities to share the true meaning of Christmas.
- Samaritan’s Purse is an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. Samaritan’s Purse works in more than 100 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine and persecution.
How does it work?
Anyone can participate! Just pack an empty shoebox with a “WOW” toy item—like a doll or ball or other special item—and other fun toys, school supplies and personal hygiene items. Get gift ideas here. Then take it to a drop-off location during National Collection Week, Nov. 14 – 21.
In the Green Bay area, you can pick-up a free Operation Christmas Child shoebox to fill from a variety of locations: all four YMCA locations, Pizza Ranch (Green Bay East and Ashwaubenon locations), North Shore Bank in Suamico, Lighthouse Christian Books, Chick-Fil-A (Green Bay) and many local churches have them as well. However, you don’t need one of these boxes in order to pack a shoebox. The shoebox can be one that you have around the house or you could purchase a plastic shoebox tub with a lid. (These come in very handy for other uses for the children, but any type of shoebox will work!) If you choose to wrap your shoebox, be sure to wrap the lid and bottom separately.
Decide whether you will pack your box for a boy or girl of the following age ranges: 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14
You can include just about anything in your shoebox, except for the following items: candy, toothpaste, gum, used or damaged items, scary or war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures, chocolate or food, seeds, fruit rolls or other fruit snacks, drink mixes (powdered or liquid), liquids or lotions, medications or vitamins, breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers, aerosol cans.
You can also include an optional $10 donation for shipping and follow your box online to discover its final destination! You do this by scanning the “follow your box QR code” on the labels provided to attach to your box. Here’s more info on following your box.
Once your box is ready to go, you can return it to your church and they will get to the Green Bay collection site, but you will need to watch for the drop-off deadlines for that location. OR, you can drop it off yourself at the official Green Bay collection site, which is Highland Crest Baptist Church at 1830 S Military Avenue, 54304. Drop-off times at Highland Crest are:
If you don’t live in the Green Bay area, you can find your drop-off location here.
Get all the details about how to pack a box and more by visiting www.samaritanspurse.org.