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 tradition 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 16 – 23 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 appropriate labels http://www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk/pages/how-pack-your-box
1. SHOE BOX
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.
2. BOY OR GIRL?
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.
3. FILL WITH GIFTS
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.
4. INCLUDE YOUR DONATION
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.
5. DROP OFF
Place a rubber band around each closed shoe box and drop off at the Collection Center nearest you during our collection time November 1 – 18.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 Purse Operation 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 snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans
Printable – Label, Instructions and Donation forms
Click here for the above printable instructions and box labels http://www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk/pages/how-pack-your-box
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.operationchristmaschild.org.uk/pages/how-pack-your-box
Do you have an Operation Christmas Child story/tradition? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment and share your story.
We have done this for the last 3 years with our children. They love helping pick out the stuff to put in it and packing it all up. But, I think that this is the first year that my son really *gets* it.
Thank you for spreading the word =)
I do this at my local church every year and I have a nice story to share.
I did this about 2 years ago and in my show box I included a little note, along with my address so the child could right back if he/she pleased.
And about 6-8 months later I received an envelope from Madagascar. I had no idea where it came from, but I opened it and there was a picture of a young girl holding a doll that I included in the shoe box. She wrote (English wasn't perfect) God bless you and thanks for the gifts.. or something like that.
But I thought it was sooo cool to actually see how I affected a young girl's life. It was great to hear back =)
We have done this for the past five years. I think it is a great way to involve children in the spirit of Christmas! The nice thing is since you can pick what age child to make a shoebox for, our shoeboxes "grow up" with our children.
And as a note, one of my parents' neighbors (now an adult) would receive one of these boxes at Christmastime when he was a child and said it was such an exciting and meaningful part of his childhood and always wondered where they came from. Now as an adult, he is on the giving end…so the boxes really do make it to children in need and make a difference!
This is our 3rd year doing OCC and we're going strong. 16 boxes. Yeah!
Young in TX