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What Happens at an OCC Shoebox Drop-Off Location?

So, after you pack your Operation Christmas Child shoebox you have to take it somewhere.  Maybe you take them to the Drop-off Location yourself.  Or, maybe your church takes them up in the main room, takes them to the Drop-Off Location  and you have no idea what we're talking about when we say "Drop-Off Location".  Most year's I've sent my boxes through my church, but I've also dropped off shoeboxes and fillers at a Drop-Off Center.  Last year I got the chance to volunteer a few days at a Drop-Off Location, and I thought I'd share a little bit about what happens at one and my experiences.

For those of you who have never gone to drop-off location, as it gets close to National Collection
week you can find your local drop-off, it will have the hours which it will be open.  As you arrive you'll probably see an official Operation Christmas Child Drop-Off  banner to help you find it.

You pull up at a door, and inside (or outside) you'll be greeted by volunteers.  There'll probably be a form from OCC for you to fill out.  You may be offered cookies or OCC stickers or DVDs, and maybe have a chance to pray together over your boxes.  Then, if you have more than a handful of shoeboxes, you'll probably get help carrying them in-maybe on some sort of wheeled cart.

The boxes will probably be stacked on a table so they can be counted by the volunteers, we have to keep track of how many shoeboxes we collect-part of Samaritan's Purse's record keeping.  Which is really a good thing-more record keeping is important for ministries-it helps with accountability.

Then the shoeboxes are packaged up into cartons-all ages, etc mixed together.  Unlike at the Processing Center where they're sorted into age and gender groups, and that 's what's marked on the cartons.  At the Drop-off location we mark how many shoeboxes are in the carton.

The cartons are moved into one place

Either right into a truck, or into a pile and loaded on a truck latter.  Often local trucking companies will donate their services to move the boxes to a Relay Center, then on to the Processing Center.

When I volunteered one neat thing we got to see was it was at a church with a pre-school and the kids had packed a box in class, and brought it in, put it in the carton, and prayed over it.

Hope you've enjoyed learning a little more about the next step in your shoebox's journey.  To read what happens next, check out a guest post: "A day at the Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Processing Center"

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