It’s one of our favorite times of year… Time to pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child! And this year it’s even more exciting because we’re packing shoe boxes with Bob & Larry from VeggieTales!
To celebrate their 20th anniversaries, Operation Christmas Child and VeggieTales have teamed up to let kids around the world know that they are special and loved by God. Just as the new VeggieTales movie Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas reminds us that the true meaning of Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ, shoebox gifts demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way and serve as an example of His greatest gift to us.
A VeggieTales Packing Party
This week, we’re hosting a shoebox packing party for some of Emma’s homeschool friends. We’re asking each family to come with some items for the shoeboxes. Then we’ll combine all of our goodies into several boxes that we can drop off at our church this weekend.
While the kids are here, we’ll also be watching the new VeggieTales DVD Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas. Emma has already previewed the DVD and giggled her way through the whole thing. I don’t know if it was ‘Silas the Narrator’ (a.k.a. Uncle Si) or Larry singing ‘Wrapped Myself Up for Christmas’ that got her the most!
Want to Join Us?
Well, I guess you can’t really hop in your car and join us… But you can join in! Here’s how…
- Find a shoebox. Use an average size cardboard or plastic shoebox. You can wrap the box (lid separately), but wrapping isn’t required. We’ve bought the $1 clear plastic shoeboxes before, figuring that gives the kids a sturdy box where they can keep their gifts.
- Decide if your gift will be for a boy or a girl and which age category (2-4, 5-9, or 10-14). You can download the appropriate boy/girl label here. Then mark the correct age category and tape the label to the top of your box.
- Fill your box with gifts (more on that in a minute).
- Include $7 to help cover shipping costs. You can write a check to Samaritan’s Purse (note “OCC” in the memo line) and place it in an envelope on top of the items in your shoebox. If you’re packing more than one shoebox, please make one combined donation for shipping. You can also give your shipping donation online. When you do, you can follow your box online to its final destination.
- Put a rubber band around each closed shoebox, and bring it to your nearest drop-off location during National Collection Week, November 18-25. You can click here to find your closest drop-off location, or you can call 1-800-353-5949.
- Pray for the children who will receive your shoebox gifts.
What Should You Pack?
We like to mix practical gifts with fun things, kind of like we do for Christmas here. I do know that some of the kids who get the shoeboxes can’t go to school if they don’t have pencils. And some of them truly don’t have pencils. So we always include school supplies in our boxes. I remember being brought to tears by a story of a child who received a box of 24 crayons. The family couldn’t believe that they had gotten TWENTY-FOUR different colors of crayons. So we always include crayons too. Here are a few more ideas:
- Toys: Include items that children will immediately embrace such as dolls, toy trucks, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries), etc.
- School Supplies: Pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons or markers, stamps and ink pad sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.
- Hygiene Items: Toothbrush, mild bar soap (in a plastic bag), comb, washcloth, etc.
- Accessories: T-shirts, socks, ball caps, sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries).
- A Personal Note: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. If you include your name and address, the child may write back.
DO NOT INCLUDE: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures (keeping in mind that some of these kids live in war-torn countries); chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.
Are You In?
It’s not too late to plan a packing party with some friends. Have everyone bring some shoebox goodies, pop some popcorn, and watch a DVD together. Maybe you can even have the kids write notes to the kids who will get their boxes. What a great time to reflect on our blessings and be a true blessing to kids around the world!