Christmas is a special time of the year and both my children are very exited about the prospect of Santa leaving them some presents come Christmas Day but sadly not every child in the world is as fortune enough then my two and some parents can’t even afford to buy clothes or enough food for their children at times. So Samaritan’s Purse has started a project called Operation Christmas Child to bring joy and a smile to children through a small box of fun and useful gifts this Christmas.
I actually didn’t know about Operation Christmas Child until Treads got in contact with me asking me if I would like to reuse their shoeboxes for something good and pack up a shoebox for a child this Christmas. You might have seen in previous posts that I am a huge fan of Treads and both my children wear their hardwearing school shoes! After checking out the charity guidelines the kids and myself went off to the shops to get some things to fill our shoebox with. Finn picked some colouring pens, a spiral book as well as a floating ball blower and a star wars blind bag and Molly-May decided to get some wiggly eyes (who doesn’t love wiggly eyes) and a toothbrush. Back home I had a look through my party favour box and added a bouncy ball, a spinner, a dinosaur egg a mini frisbee, a magic towel and a plastic dinosaur toy.
Here are some suggestions what to pack in your shoebox:
TOYS – Include items that children will immediately embrace such as dolls or stuffed toys (with CE label), toy trucks, harmonica, yo-yo, skipping rope, ball, small puzzles , etc.
SCHOOL SUPPLIES – Pens, pencils & sharpeners, crayons or felt pens, stamps & ink pad sets, writing pads or notebooks & paper, solar calculators, colouring & picture books , etc.
HYGIENE ITEMS – Toothbrush, bars of wrapped soap, comb or hairbrush, flannel.
OTHER ITEMS – Hat, cap, gloves or scarf, sunglasses, hair accessories, jewellery set, wind up torch, slinky spring, matchbox cars , etc.
Due to more stringent import regulations, toothpaste & sweets can no longer be included in shoeboxes.
In the ‘How to Pack a Shoebox’ section on the Samaritan’s Purse website it suggest to personalise your shoebox by including a hand written note and a photograph of yourself or your family. So Finn decided to write a lovely christmas card for the boy and I added a picture of us all as well as our address because Finn thought he might be able to write us a letter back if he fancies it. He also decided to draw some pictures on card for the boy to colour in.
Our box is aimed for a Boy age 5 to 9 years and before we filled all the goodies into the box we wrapt the outside of the shoebox with some christmas paper and place a rubber band around the closed shoebox. The charity does suggest a donation of £5 for each shoebox which covers collections, progressing and shipping to Africa und Central Asia. For example in 2018, all the donations enabled 36 lorries and 19 containers to successfully export over 511,200 shoeboxes to 11 countries from the UK.
This year drop off locations across the UK will open to receive shoeboxes between 11-18th November and you can find your local drop off point here or you can call 01993 770620.
Other than a great opportunity to bless a child for Christmas I think it’s a great project for my children to help focus on considering others. Whilst buying the gifts and filling the shoebox the kids and me talked about the reason for us doing the shoebox so they realised that other children don’t have the same kind of life that they have. It’s a great way to reach out and share your love while teaching the child to learn about other areas of the world!
Will you be joining in for this years shoebox gift appeal or have you done so in the past? If you don’t have any shoe boxes at home why not head to your local shoe shop to ask for some empty ones!
Disclaimer: Treads have asked me if I would like to participate in the Shoebox Appeal and have kindly covered payment of most of the gifts inside but all thoughts and opinions in this post are my own.