Sunday, November 14, 2010

Shoebox? Shoe-in for Change!

When I was a kid, I remember helping my Grandma Betty pack dozens of giftwrapped shoeboxes into her trunk around Thanksgiving. I vaguely knew they were to help kids somewhere on the other side of the world at Christmastime. I most definitely knew that Grandma would give me candy afterwards for helping, which was far more important to me at the time!

But I did eventually grow up. And as soon as Nick and I got married, we started packing a shoebox every November for Operation Christmas Child, an outreach of an organization we support called Samaritan's Purse. It's run by Franklin Graham, Billy Graham's son.

The idea is simple: you take a normal-sized shoebox, fill it up with goodies for a boy or girl in 3 different age categories from ages 2-14 that you choose, and finally drop it off at a local pickup station (usually a church, business or school). Samaritan's Purse then delivers it to your boy or girl in any number of countries, often delivered by such diverse methods as camel or donkey.

In addition to getting the Christmas gift of a lifetime, each boy or girl gets an invitation to a local church and a Bible tract explaining the salvation message.

And now they let you track the status of your package! Last year, our box went to Peru.

I must say, Operation Christmas Child is grand fun! I'm supremely proud of the amount of stuff I manage to pack into my shoebox every year. Not to mention, it is an awesomely-easy way to teach Jack about missions. This year, he was super-excited to buy stuff for "kids who dote hab enny." :-)

Check out the list of 27 items I crammed into my box this year, chosen for a boy ages 2-4 in honor of Jack:


denim shorts, 6 pairs of socks, pens, pencils, crayons, colored pencils, playdough, a ziploc bag of hard butterscotch candy, 8 packs of gum, bar of soap, comb, toothpaste, toothbrush, 4 squishy sports balls, basketball hoop with inflatable ball, writing tablet, washcloth, baby powder, calculator, cup, fork/spoon, dinner plate, coloring book, Hot Wheels car, pencil sharpener, Kleenex and 2 race cars!

Go ahead and pack a box for yourself -- collection week is this week, November 15-22! Check out the link: www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.

Happy shoeboxing!