Samaritan’s Purse runs their Operation Christmas Child collection each November. It’s time to get those shoeboxes packed!
My husband and I have been putting together Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes since we were newlyweds. We look forward to this outreach each November, and it’s become a favorite family activity with our children as well.
Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse. The ministry organizes a shoebox collection each Christmas season. Families from all over the United States and Canada are asked to fill shoeboxes with toys, toiletries, and school supplies. The ministry then delivers the shoeboxes to children all over the world all year long!
This past summer, we also had the wonderful opportunity to help out with an Operation Christmas Child distribution while we were in Costa Rica!
Here are 5 reasons why you should pack an Operation Christmas Child shoebox this year:
1. It’s a tangible way to teach your children about international missions.
Not many of us can afford to take our children on international mission trips all over the world, but Operation Christmas Child is a hands-on activity that can help us teach our children about how to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need in other countries.
As we pack the shoeboxes together, we can speak to our children about how Jesus has called His followers to spread His gospel message of salvation from our sins to every tribe, tongue, and nation.
2. It spreads the gospel to those in other countries.
When my husband and I first started packing shoeboxes, I really had no idea that there was such a huge gospel component involved in the charity.
Although families and individuals pack the shoeboxes with toys, school supplies, and toiletry items to meet the children’s physical needs, Operation Christmas Child actually inserts a brochure with the gospel message in each and every box!
While we participated in the shoebox distribution in Costa Rica, we saw firsthand how the local leadership gives a full gospel presentation to the children!
3. It’s easy.
Packing an Operation Christmas Child shoebox might be one of the easiest outreaches your family ever participates in: Although you can make trips to several stores if you want to, it’s possible to fill an entire shoebox with just one trip to the Dollar Store, Walmart, or Target.
Despite the ease, filling a shoebox can have an eternal impact if this small box of gifts can open the doors for children around the world to become life-long followers of Jesus.
4. It’s relatively affordable.
I say “relatively” because when we were living on a low income, it was, indeed, sacrificial to fill our shoeboxes.
Depending on where and when you shop (savvy shoppers will collect items for their shoeboxes based on sales and clearance items all year round!) and how full you fill your shoeboxes, each one can cost between $20-$30 to fill.
5. It’s fun.
Taking your kids to the Dollar Store or Walmart and watching them pick out items to fill the shoeboxes is just plain fun. In the early years, they might wonder why the toys aren’t for them, but it will afford you the opportunity to again and again teach them how giving is more important than receiving.
You can find good suggestions of what to pack inside your shoebox here.
Has your family ever packed an Operation Christmas Child shoebox?