Friday, November 15, 2013

Operation Christmas Child

 Last year my mops group introduced me to the organization Samaritan's Purse and their Operation Christmas Child Program.  For those of you who have never heard of this program, donors fill shoe boxes full of gifts for children and then Samaritan's Purse takes them all over the world and gives them out for Christmas.  This year I took two boxes for our family to put together.  After reading a little online I decided to make our boxes for a boy and girl from 10-14 since they are usually in greater demands since so many people choose to do younger boxes.  Shopping for these boxes was so hard.  They give you a lot of suggestions and I went online and read a lot more from people who had actually gone on deliveries of the boxes so my struggle wasn't coming up with stuff to buy, but it was trying to figure out what to buy in relation to the box size so I could fit the most, best, stuff in there.  When I thought about these kids I just wanted to give them the most love and hit the most categories I could.  So I bought a ton of stuff at the store and then we set about to trying to fit the most we could into these tiny boxes.  Once the boxes were completely stuffed we added a personalized note and then I held them shut while the kids put three rubber bands on them to keep the contents from spilling out.  Here is what we ended up with.
 Our girl box contained:
1 notebook
3 pencils
1 pencil sharpener
1 draw sting backpack
1 tube of toothpaste
1 toothbrush
1 hairbrush
7 super colorful elastic headbands
1 small sewing kit
1 1/2 yards of really cute fabric
1 spool of thread
3 pairs of panties
8 reusable pads that I made that morning.  It sounds kind of crazy but access to sanitary napkins is sort of a big deal in some places, especially countries in Africa.
3 adorable little knitted finger puppets
1 package of tick tacks 
1 kit for making friendship bracelets because I can't imagine a place on earth where girls don't think that is fun to do and even if she isn't into it, there is tons of really beautiful colored thread there so hopefully she can think of something fun to do with it.

Our boy box contained:
1 notebook
3 pencils
1 pencil sharpener
1 draw string backpack
1 tube of toothpaste
1 toothbrush
1 comb
1 baseball cap
1 package of tick tacks
2 pairs of socks
1 t-shirt 
And what I considered the best item in the lot but  the hardest to get in there 1 deflated full sized soccer ball and a pump to blow it up.

I had so much more I wanted to put in there but the space was so limited.  You do what you can do.  I love doing this sort of stuff with my kids.  We are so blessed and I just want to pass some of that blessing along and teach them to do the same and to be excited to do it!  At one point Gigi was really upset about some of the finger puppets I had chosen to put in there.  She asked me, "mom why can't we pick ones that I don't like as much?"  "Gigi," I said, "we are making a gift from our heart and when we give from the heart we give the best that we can."  I was so grateful to have the opportunity to teach her that.  I really feel like it is something we learn through doing rather then just talking about. 

 After finishing your box you pay $7 dollars a box to help cover the shipping and then get a code so you can follow where your box ends up.  I'm so excited to do that with the kids and especially stoked because one of the Operation Christmas Child workers came and talked with us today and told us that they will have a video link for us showing some of the kids in those areas opening their box.  I think the kids are going to love it.  She also was telling us stories about some of the drop offs that she'd been on.  It made me realize the power of some of those little things.  She told about a girl who would fill her notebook and then erase from the oldest thing written so that she could keep using it.  She told of kids who had never had a box of crayons because crayons in their country cost $5 a box, more than these parents could ever afford.  She told of an orphan boy in Russia who had never had his own tube of toothpaste or soap and was overjoyed over not having to share.  This is a Christian organization and they do use these boxes as an introduction so they can offer families optional lessons on Jesus Christ but I don't have a problem with that at all.  First, the love of the Savior is the most beautiful thing I have in my entire life.  Second, those lessons are optional and getting a box is not dependent on agreeing to the lessons.  Third, it is a beautiful work.  One of the things I found the most touching is that since the project has been working since 1970 some of it's recipients have now grown and are now themselves actively working to bring this program to more and more children in their home countries.  I love that.  It was a great way to start off the season of giving!  

1 comment:

  1. That's so awesome! Some of my elementary schools did this growing up. It was so much fun!

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