Operation Christmas Child – Shoe Box Tradition

Operation Christmas Child brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes and the Good News of God’s love. Since 1993, more than 61 million shoe boxes have been packed, shipped, and delivered across the globe. People of all ages can be involved in this simple, hands-on missions project while focusing on the true meaning of Christmas.

The Novotny family traditon began 13 years ago. I walked into my local Bible book store and there was this huge stack of shoe boxes, and next to it was a display of books titled Miracle in a Shoe Box, by Franklin Graham, founder of Operation Christmas Child.

I picked up the book and skimmed through it only to discover this was the story about Operation Christmas Child in action. I was compelled from that moment to begin an annual tradition with my children, filling shoe boxes with a variety of items to be sent across the world to children who were in desperate situations.

The book has since gone out of print (available online at used book sites and maybe your local library) but the tradition has continued on in my family and across the country.

Will you begin a new family tradition and join the Novotny family in filling shoe boxes?

November 17 – 24 is National Collection Week. To find a drop off location near you click here http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/Drop_Off_Locations/

How to Pack a Shoe Box

Click here to download and print the appropraoet labels http://www.samaritanspurse.org/pdf/PackABoxwithLabels.pdf

Use an empty shoe box (standard size, please) or a small plastic container. You can wrap the box (lid separately), but wrapping is not required. Most importantly, pray for the child who will receive your gift.

Determine whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the child’s age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Print out the appropriate boy/girl label by downloading the artwork to the right. Mark the correct age category on the label, and tape the label to the top of your box.

Fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child. Use the gift ideas provided on the bottom of this page.

Please donate $7 or more for each shoe box you prepare to help cover shipping and other project costs. You can give online by using our EZGIVE option, or you can write a check to Samaritan’s Purse (note “OCC” on memo line) and place it in an envelope on top of the gift items inside your box. If you or your family are preparing more than one shoe box, please make one combined donation.

Place a rubber band around each closed shoe box and drop off at the Collection Center nearest you during our collection week November 17 – 24.For locations and hours of collection visit our Drop-Off Locations page where you can find the nearest place to take your shoe box by entering your ZIP Code or you can call 1-800-353-5949.You can also send your shoe box gift to: Samaritan’s PurseOperation Christmas Child801 Bamboo RoadBoone, NC 28607


TOYS small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, small Etch A Sketch®, toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries), Slinky®, etc.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES pens, pencils and sharpener, crayons or markers, stamps and ink pad sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.

HYGIENE ITEMS toothbrush, toothpaste, mild bar soap (in a plastic bag), comb, washcloth, etc.

OTHER Hard candy and lollipops (please double bag all candy), mints, gum, T-shirts, socks, ball caps; sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries)

A PERSONAL NOTE In a separate envelope, 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; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snowglobes or glass containers; aerosol cans

Printable – Label, Instructions and Donation forms

Click here for the above priamtable instructions and box labels http://www.samaritanspurse.org/pdf/PackABoxwithLabels.pd

Click here for donation form and box labels fill out the form and include it in your box with your donation to receive a tax receipt. (Gifts are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.) http://www.samaritanspurse.org/pdf/one_sheet.pdf

Do you have an Operation Christmas Child story/tradition? Email us at team@247moms.com or leave a comment and share your story.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

This article may contain affiliate links to products. This means if you click and purchase, we may receive a small commission. Please see our full disclosure policy for more details.

2 Responses

  1. Our church and MOPS group is collecting boxes for Operation Christmas Child. This is such a great program for children around the world.

  2. Our church and MOPS group is collecting boxes for Operation Christmas Child. This is such a great program for children around the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *