Let us put by some hour of every day for holy things...

Think on th' eternal home,
The Saviour left for you;
Think on the Lord most holy, come
To dwell with hearts untrue:
So shall ye tread untired His pastoral ways,
And in the darkness sing your carol of high praise.

--from Keble's The Christian Year, Thoughts in Verse



Friday, November 15, 2013

Shoebox Time

Would you like to get involved in a project that makes a tangible difference in an impoverished child's life? I can't think of a better one than Operation Christmas Child, an annual outreach of the Christian organization, Samaritan's Purse. And the time to get moving is now! National shoebox collection week is from November 18-25. 

What's it all about? To quote from the website, since 1993 over 100 million shoebox gifts have been distributed to needy children worldwide. The boxes are filled by ordinary, everyday folks like you and me, and are delivered to areas of need around the world. Some will go to kids in areas devastated by natural disasters or famine, others to refugee camps, to slums, hospitals, orphanages, and schools.

I've been involved with this project since my kids were small. We used to go shopping together to choose the items to send, and then they helped prepare the boxes. It was a powerful way to teach and show them the example of Jesus Christ's compassion and helpfulness. Now that my kids are grown, I still make at least one shoebox every year. This year, in light of the super-hurricane in the Philippines, I've put together three.

Let me show you the process.

I started with some ordinary shoeboxes. First, I decorated them. (You don't have to do this, but it's fun to do, and I think it means a lot of a child to get a pretty box.)
Then I decided which gender and age of child I wanted to donate to. The age categories are 2-4 years, 5-9 years, and 10-14 years.
Here's a box I made for a boy, 5-9:

I started off with some school supplies. It sounds strange, but in many developing countries, a lack of simple school supplies can keep a child from getting an education.

Next, and also very important, are hygiene supplies: toothbrush, toothpaste, soap... The soap needs to be sealed in a plastic bag.
Now the fun stuff!  Toys, of course, and hard candy and gum!


When I finished packing up the box, I attached a label to the lid and added a rubber band for extra security.

Then I packed two boxes for little girls. They're all pretty much ready to go now, though I hope to slip a small doll or stuffed animal into one of them, and maybe a hat or gloves in each before I take them to the local collection point.



You can get all the instructions, download labels, watch videos, and locate a drop-off center for your shoebox at this website:

http://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

 It may well be the best Christmas gift you ever give anyone in your life!


"Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

 

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