Hi all! I just wanted to post a quick reminder about Operation Christmas Child. It is getting to be that time again and I know this is an annual tradition for many families.
This will be our fourth year packing boxes and my girls look forward to it- it is definitely one of those things that has made an impression on them for sure.
So quickly – Operation Christmas Child is a Christian relief organization that provides holiday gift boxes for children living in extreme poverty. You simply buy a $1.00 plastic shoebox and your family can fill it with toys, books, clothing, personal hygiene items and more. The cost of the box is totally up to you depending on what you decide to fill it with. You choose the gender and age of the child and then drop your packed box off at a designated location in your area along with $7 for shipping.
The boxes are sent to children all over the world that have nothing. You can track the status of your box if you like and see where it goes and share that with your child.
All in all we love this and in prior years made it a party with our Girl Scout troops or just friends.
You can fill the box with anything you like but it does need to be a shoebox size. You can recycle old shoeboxes you have on hand but I really like to encourage people to spend the $1.00 for an actual shoebox size tub from Dollar Tree or Walmart or Target to use to pack your box. The plastic shoeboxes are more durable to hold a child’s things and they can store food or carry water in the plastic tubs.
When packing the tubs you can use items found in the Target Dollar Spot, Dollar stores or even things you might have on hand such as bars of soap, extra toothbrushes, cars and small toys (new condition only), boxes of crayons AND this is a great time to purge your child’s trick or treat bucket and send off some hard candy and lollipops. Please be sure to put any candy in an extra Ziploc bag just in case it melts. I try to find things that are good quality and will hold up- better to do fewer boxes and give a child something wonderful and not the poorly made toys from Dollar stores that will break immediately. Things like coloring books and crayons or hot wheels or good stuffed animals will survive lots of use.
We usually watch for little items on clearance or on sale and grab things here and there. I always like to include a small stuffed animal in my boxes and always clothing of some sort- check clearance racks for awesome deals. (I include underwear too- little girls in war torn countries that just have clothing on are far less likely to be victims of abuse than girls that have ill fitting, torn or no clothing to wear.)
We typically do (2) boxes per child in our home and I let my girls pick out the items for the most part. They color a card/note for the recipient and then we fill it and drop it off.
If you don’t have time to pack a box this year, they are allowing people to pack a virtual box for a suggested donation of $25.
You can find complete details about what to pack here. Basically they don’t want anything that might melt or not survive transit (so bars of soap not liquid body wash, lollipops not bars of chocolate etc..)
They also prefer you avoid any war themed items- so grab Hot Wheels cars not army guy toys and mini guns and such. Be sure batteries are packed for flashlights etc.. and I like to double Ziploc bag personal hygiene items like bars of soap so the scent/taste doesn’t transfer to other item in the box. Or better yet wrap the soap in a wash cloth.
Since not all children look the same, they prefer to avoid characters on clothing and toys- so plain shirts instead of a Cinderella shirt.
Here is a box we packed in 2012:
This had soap, clothes, bandaids, toys, treats, crayons, toothpaste etc..
And if it isn’t in your budget to pack these boxes or you want to do something more, you can look into opportunities to serve in the drop off centers during collection week.
Our Church does Operation Christmas child boxes and our school also collects them so you might get a group together and make it a fun tradition.
Every family was responsible for certain items like 10 bars of soap and 10 coloring books and crayons or whatever and then we just mixed and matched the items to fill the boxes.
The kids can decorate the items with stickers and ribbons and such but just make sure everything in the box is visible to those in the processing centers. No toys wrapped up for example as they need to check everything to be sure it is safe for shipping.
My stinkers dropping our boxes off last year. This is a really fun tradition and an amazing cause so I hope your family enjoys it as much as we do.
Does anyone have additional suggestions of fun things they like to pack in boxes or ways to make this more meaningful for the kids?