February 1, 2012

Operation Christmas Child ~ Shoe Boxes for Children Around the World

Image Courtesy of OCC
I was introduced to the idea of providing needs with gifts in a shoe box from Operation Christmas Child.  OCC collects shoe boxes for children in crisis around the world--from America to Zimbabwe.  We have done this for as long as Samaritan's Purse (an international Christian relief agency) has been doing it since 1993 (I think we missed one year when we were moving).  Some years we do a few and some we do dozens.  This year, 2012, we plan to fill 100 shoe boxes with the help of couponing and online earnings.

Correspondence I received from one
of my shoe box girls in Latvia.
We have enjoyed the opportunity to volunteer in the processing center at their headquarters in Boone, NC as a family and have also enjoyed corresponding with some of the children who have received our shoe boxes.  We always include our address in case the child has the ability to write to us.  One year two sisters in a hospital received the two boxes my daughters sent.  They were able to correspond for a few years after receiving the letter thanking them for the shoe boxes.  It is so nice when we receive a letter and a photo from the
child receiving the box.  It is a small percentage of the number we have sent, but has been such a special treat when we have.
CVS deals alone filled this Shoe Box
 a few years ago.

If you have any interest in starting a tradition with your children or grandchildren (or by yourself) of giving to a child in crisis at Christmas this is a great program with which to do it.  It is simple and can be very personal by including a letter and a picture.  Often in the videos of the children receiving the boxes it is the photograph that they are most thrilled with.  I remember seeing a little Spanish speaking fellow waving the photo shouting "amigos, amigos."

They have collection centers throughout the US or the box can be shipped directly to their Boone address.  You can learn how to pack a shoe box and find a collection center near you by visiting the website (the local collection centers--usually churches--are not listed until around September each year.  But they are in every state and more than likely there should be one in driving distance--perhaps contact OCC to see if they can let you know if there have been ones near you in past years).  Collection week is the week before Thanksgiving each year.

If you would like to find weekly deals that would be great for filling a shoe box check out Clip With Purpose.  Jessica & Mary keep us updated on all the hottest deals on items for shoe boxes year round from numerous stores.  You can also keep up with Clip With Purpose on Facebook or Operation Christmas Child on Facebook.

Images courtesy of Operation Christmas Child, Samaritan's Purse.


JRFrugalMom and Family said...

What a fantastic thing to do Cheryl! I am sure you will soon reach your goal of 100 shoe boxes with all the deals you are able to find.

Pam @Threading My Way said...

What a wonderful thing you are doing, Cheryl!!! I've just found a similar organisation in Australia. It's run to provide love and hope to communities affected by Australian disasters through small boxes of essential and luxury items.

Cheryl said...

Pam, don't just love what you can do thru a shoe box? I know you will enjoy filling boxes. Love the idea of the one you found. I know OCC is worldwide--several different countries pack boxes, including Australia.

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