Every year I look forward to the time when our MOPS chapter packs shoeboxes for children around the world for the OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD. National Collection Week (November 14-21) is coming up, so NOW is the time to start sourcing supplies and packing up those boxes!
Operation Christmas Child has long been a tradition for Grace Baptist MOPS, with each year bringing good-natured competition to see which table can pack the most boxes. We always enjoy seeing where our boxes end up! So far, our family’s boxes have arrived in South America, Africa and India! My daughters always get such a thrill knowing that a child thousands of miles away is enjoying a gift WE prepared and prayed over.
Now. For the boxes themselves. OCC’s website has some amazing tips and helpful hints, as well as guidelines for what CAN and CANNOT go inside the boxes. Visit this page for that information, as well as resources for downloading labels, ordering boxes, or even putting together a box online!
I recently took an informal poll from some of my MOPS pals, and here are some other great suggestions to keep in mind as you put together your boxes:
-Many children consider the box itself a gift, so consider buying clear plastic shoeboxes with lids, so that the recipient has a sturdy box to keep his/her gifts inside!
-Remember that many children don’t speak English, so steer clear of anything with writing on it.
-Keep the items age-appropriate. This may seem like common sense, but anything that could be considered scary (even certain toys or stuffed animals) should stay out.
-Hygiene items are always great, but keep the box fun, too. Jumpropes, a deflated ball and pump, colored pencils/paper/sharpener, and quality, durable, ready-to-use toys are good!
-Target’s Dollar Bin and Dollar Tree are your best friend! They always have great deals on things like art supplies, the boxes themselves, washcloths, t-shirts, etc. Check those places first, then build from there!
HOW TO PACK:
Have a party! What better occasion to bring a group together than to do something wonderful for others?! A few years ago, I hosted a dessert night and my friends and I pooled all of our resources to make a “Shoebox Assembly Line.” We ended the night with over 30 boxes and had a lot of fun!
SPREAD THE WORD! You might be surprised to know that a lot of folks have never heard of OCC. Let your friends and neighbors know that you’re participating, and if they’d like to contribute, offer to pick up items or boxes from them to bring to MOPS on Collection Day! It’s fun to involve others in this worth cause!
Quality over quantity! Speaking of 30 boxes, don’t feel like you HAVE to send dozens out! If you and your family put a lot of thought and prayer into even just ONE box, you’re making a HUGE difference.
What are some of your favorite things to include in your Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes? Comment below! We’d love to hear about your traditions!
Have a great week!