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Report from Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Distribution in Southeast Asia

On this blog I mostly write about packing, shopping, crafting, etc. for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, but I thought it'd be encouraging to share some shoebox distribution stories, plus I love to get more ideas and feedback on things to include from first hand reports.  I've never been on a distribution, but I recently got to the chance to interview a couple that was able to take part of a distribution in Thailand about a decade ago.  I believe it to be a somewhat sensitive country for the gospel , so while I will share the story and photos, I won't share any names, exact locations, or exact year.

>>About how many kids were at the distribution(s) you attended?
At least 100

>>Please share a little about your trip and the distributions:
They went to the country on a trip with a group from their church to help teach an English as a second language school.  While there, they met a someone doing outreach to Muslims.  He had gone to the Muslim school for Muslim children more than once.  He had arranged to take shoeboxes to the school and invited some others to come with him to distribute.

The children came out and sat in rows on the concrete ground in groups and patiently waited for their boxes.  The ten people in the group took turns handing out the boxes as the children came up one by one to get their box, then went back and sat down in their row holding it and waiting for everyone to get their box.  Then they all opened their boxes at once and got to look at what they had received.  They were very excited, but stayed in their groups.  Once they had got the chance to look thru their boxes, they put everything back in and went to their classes. 

Those who had handed out the boxes then got a chance to share in the school classrooms.

>>What's your favorite memory?
For the wife the best memory was the card they saw in a number of boxes with the church name and "we do this in the Name of Jesus" for the husband it was how orderly and disciplined the kids were. 

>>What item(s) did you notice the kids really enjoying and/or needing?  Maybe something you'll be adding to or emphasizing more in your packing it the future?  Is there anything you personally won't be packing as much in boxes in the future based on what you saw?

 The husband pointed out they had not interacted with the kids that much and their boxes or in the home, and were not as needy as some.  The wife felt that socks and balls were great as were sandals as whatever climate feet need protection or shoes.  She thought that Hotwheels might not work great in the dirt, but the husband points out that it could be what the kids really prize. 

Let's keep packing, so they can keep sharing!

REMINDER: this advice is just based on one person's opinion based on their personal experience in one country.  This is not official from Operation Christmas Child whose guidelines are the only thing incumbent on us to follow and are based on thousands of distributions in dozens of countries over many years and based on feedback from local partners as well as customs regulations.  These regulations are different for different sending countries, so be sure to check out the rules for your own country/region (OCC USAOCC CanadaOCC UKOCC AUOCC Japan, etc.). 

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Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoeboxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.