Putting together Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes is one of my very favorite Christmas activities.
I spend all year shopping for items for our boxes.
I pray for the children and families who will receive our boxes.
I lovingly pack the boxes, squeezing in as many items as I possibly can.
Several years ago our MOPS group decided to work together to fill several OCC boxes. To familiarize the group with OCC, I opted to share the video (that you can order) that shows how to pack a box, how they are delivered, and some footage of children receiving their boxes. I cry every time I watch these videos. It breaks my heart to think that this may be the only Christmas gift a child receives.
One of our MOPS moms asked to speak after the video was shown. She shared that she had been on a summer mission trip to an Eastern European country and that during their door-to-door visitations she met a young boy who showed her his OCC box. He treated it like rare treasure and was so proud of all of the items in contained. She was in tears sharing her story, as were most of us in the room.
From that moment I knew EVERY year we would participate in OCC. These boxes make a REAL difference in the lives of children all over the world.
If this is not a program your church participates in, please, please go check out the OCC website.
Consider hosting a packing party for the women in your church. Give them a list of needed donations. The website has a long list of ideas but we always try to include: a bar of soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, crayons/colored pencils, coloring/puzzle books, small games, hat/t-shirt, small toys, small sports balls, hard candy (double bagged). No liquids, no war toys, no chocolate, nothing breakable.
Items will need to be divided by gender and appropriate age: 2-4 years, 5-9 years , or 10-14 years.
The current suggested donation for each box is $7 which covers shipping. You will want to budget for this and/or collect monetary donations to cover the cost.
You can order ALL of the necessary promo materials from Samaritan’s Purse, of which OCC is a ministry. They have posters, stickers, videos, prayer guides, bulletin inserts, web resources, and even boxes. It couldn’t be easier!
Consider making an OCC Packing Party part of your Women’s Ministries activities this fall. Give your women the opportunity to impact the lives of children and their families around the world.
Please note: You will need to plan early! Boxes are collected in mid-November. Donations made online allow you track the box’s destination.
You may also want to read:
My Message in a Box
Serving in the OCC Processing Center – Part 1
Serving in the OCC Processing Center – Part 2
How to Pack a Better Shoebox
What It’s Like to Give a Child a Shoebox
How to Host an Operation Christmas Child Packing Party
How Your Women’s Ministry Can Get Involved with Operation Christmas Child