November 15, 2013

Operation Christmas Child and The Power of Giving

I am so grateful for the life I have. I have a loving family, supportive friends, a roof over my head, I have an education, a job, and so much more that I am thankful for. There are many children and youths who aren't as fortunate, and who can only dream of having this life that we sometimes take for granted. With Christmas just around the corner, I knew I wanted to make a difference and bring hope and joy to a child in need this holiday season. After doing a bit of research, I came across Operation Christmas Child, a project run by Samaritan's Purse International Relief. What is great about this organization is that it is run in many countries, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, as well as Hong Kong, among other regions.

Operations Christmas Child involves gifting shoeboxes filled with hygiene items, school supplies, toys, and candy to children in need. You have 2 options when it comes to packing a shoebox: you can either pack it yourself and bring it to a collection center, or you can build a shoebox online. For each box that you pack, a minimum donation of $7 is required to help cover project costs, including shipping, and this payment can be made either online, or you can leave your cheque or cash donation in an envelope inside your shoebox, on top of the items. When donating this amount online, you will receive a label which you can print and stick on your shoebox, allowing you to track it and see where it is headed in the world! 

National Collection Week is November 18-25, 2013, so it isn't too late if you would also like to donate to this great cause! :) This year, shoeboxes will be distributed in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Uruguay, and Venezuela. For most children who will be receiving a shoebox, this will be their first time to ever receive a gift.

I got my sister on board, and we dedicated an afternoon to buy things to fill our boxes, We had such a fun time roaming the aisles and deciding what to include in each of our boxes! My sister decided to gift her box to a little girl and I will be gifting mine to a little boy, both between the ages of 5-9 (the other age groups to choose from are 2-4 or 10-14). The website also offers gift ideas as well as restrictions (for example, we cannot send toothpaste and liquids due to custom regulations). We will also be writing a personal Christmas card to each child and include a photo of ourselves (the children apparently love receiving pictures!). For full details on how to pack a shoebox, you can click here.

Here are a few pictures of the boxes we prepared. We decided to use plastic containers the size of a shoebox instead of a cardboard box, which is also permitted, since the children will be able to reuse them! :)

We bought flute recorders, teddy bears, and other toys (such as cars, action figures and foam balls), toothbrushes, hair brushes, crayons, pens, pencils, notebooks, erasers, sharpeners, soap bars, socks, candy and more! :)
Little boy's box :) (donated by me)
Little girl's box :) (donated by my sister)
Make a difference this holiday season by donating, whether internationally or in your local community! I really hope this post has inspired you to help someone in need - the smallest gesture, whether donating a bit of money to a non-governmental organization or giving non-perishable items to a food bank, will mean the world to those on the receiving end, and you will feel so good knowing that you put a smile on their faces! :)

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1 comment

  1. I love Operation Christmas child! I wrote about this on my blog too! I do them every year!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle
    http://acutelifestyle.blogspot.com

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