Operation Christmas Child

I walked into church two weeks ago and let out a huge aggravated sigh.


Because in every seat of the auditorium was an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

Now, why would that make me upset?

Because I forgot my camera.

(This is what happens when you’re a blogger. You have to take pictures of every. single. thing.)

The boxes were all flat and they encouraged us to fold them and drop them off on our way out. Not taking them home, just folding them up. They wanted everyone to see how many boxes the church wants to pack. It was a teaser, if you will.

This week, I was prepared. I grabbed my camera and took some pictures of the MOUNTAINS of boxes in our church’s lobby.

operation christmas child

operation christmas child

operation christmas child

I told you they were mountains.

It was so cool to see everyone walking home with a box under their arm. Or two. Or three. This week I’m expecting those boxes to come back, filled to the brim with little gifts–socks, toothbrushes, tissues, balls, ponytail holders, crayons, notebooks, pencils, suckers, stuffed animals, silly bandz, bandaids, stickers, washcloths, soap and more.

christmas shoeboxes

This week I’m hoping there are mountains of FILLED boxes. We did our part and packed 9 (see above), then with our leftover stuff (and a few things from around the house), we packed 2 more–so we’ll be bringing 11 boxes to church!


Now, the heart part

There are 1.6 billion kids under 15 in the world today. Last year Operation Christmas Child sent out 8.2 million shoeboxes to needy kids. That doesn’t even make a dent.

In every area that Operation Christmas Child delivers, there is a National Leadership Team. These teams have an 8 year strategy for getting boxes into the hands of kids in their area. They work hard at making sure kids don’t get boxes more than once.


That sounds kinda mean. Only one shoebox in their lifetime?

Why is that a good idea? Well, let’s think about it–the 8.5 million boxes that will (hopefully) be sent out this Christmas season?  They will go to different kids than the 8.2 million  boxes that were sent out last year! In just 2 years they reached almost 17 million kids with a shoebox! 17 million kids with the love of Jesus!

That gets me excited!

After I read this info, I looked at my 11 little boxes and thought, “I’m not just making an impact on these kids’ CHRISTMAS. I’m making an impact on their entire CHILDHOOD!” This could be their one and only gift EVER.

The. Only. Gift. They’ll. Ever. Get.

And it could be given by you. It could be picked out, wrapped, packed and sent by your children.

Do you see the huge impact this can make on you? Your children? And a child somewhere else around the world?

Pack a Box. Change a Life.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Operation Christmas Child blogger panel and write about the ministry on a volunteer basis. All posts are my own thoughts and do not necessarily reflect the views of Samaritan’s Purse. As part of the blogger panel, Operation Christmas Child will cover my expenses to participate in a trip to the California Processing Center to prepare shoe box gifts for overseas shipment. I am not an employee, agent, or contractor of Samaritan’s Purse.


  1. It was an awesome sight wasn’t it! Can’t wait to see the piles this week!

  2. When I taught 5/6 grade at a Christian school, one of the most special moments I had with my kids was when we gathered around our filled OCC shoe boxes and each of the kids prayed over them. They prayed for the kids that would receive the gifts and for the their families… wow, I am tearing up just remembering that sweet moment. My students got so excited about spending their own money to fill these shoe boxes and to send them off. Not only is this a great ministry for the kids that are receiving the boxes but this is such a fantastic way to get your kids involved in something that ‘beyond’ themselves.

  3. I’ve never heard of this but this is very nice!!

  4. I think this shoebox idea is wonderful idea. I really just heard about it a few days ago when my friend posted it on her facebook page. She wanted a bunch of shoebox’s because this was her thing to do…you see, her 2 yr old son passed away June 1st,2010 in a drowning accident. And this is her way to keep Joey’s memory alive. So in honor of her little boy’s life we all have pitched in and now she has almost a 100( +) boxes wrapped & filled. Just from 1 person asking for help and wanting to help. And that’s 100(+) little kids that might not have seen a box this year. Live on Joey<3

  5. This is my favorite time of the year…Our church family is planning on filling 125 (yeah, we are a small church).

  6. We had so much fin shopping for and packing our boxes last year. You should have seen the geometry involved in fitting everything we bought into them. I can’t wait to do them again!

    • LOL! I hear you on the geometry! We moved stuff around so much! And we found some shirts for $1 at Target, so then we were trying to match gifts to the right size of the kid (ie-would a 6 year old like this? does this match the purple shirt?) 🙂

      • We got some shirts, too. And we had to do a girl of the same age because Emily wanted to have a matching shirt of another girl somewhere across the world. Every time she wears it, she says her “friend” is probably wearing it too.

  7. So excited to do this project. We are doing this as a cub scout service project for this month and are getting ready to finish filling our boxes on Monday evening. We started off thinking we would do at least 2, but I think it will be 4 (or maybe more!)

    Thanks for the great ideas!

    • I want to do more next year—by couponing and stockpiling throughout the year. SavingsLifestyle.com has a ton of posts about free/cheap stuff to fill your boxes with! You could do SO many boxes that way! It’s awesome no matter how many you do!

  8. I had no idea they didn’t give a second box to a child. Wow.

    • Just think of all the boxes they’ve given out over the years. Have you seen the videos of the kids who are grown now–and got boxes as kids? They are giving back by serving with OCC b/c it was a big thing in their life. It’s amazing.

  9. Great way for your church to “encourage” people to fill boxes…by leaving them on the seats….I may have to use that idea at my church next year!

  10. Love it! Love it! Love it!!
    I’ve had the chance to pass out shoeboxes twice before, and both experiences were moving, significant, sacred moments. I get goose bumps to see the pics of your boxes and to know the *joy* it will bring to kids around the world.
    And you’ve got me thinking…I’m not sure how creative our family can be ~ but I’m sure going to think about making a little video. To have the chance to distribute shoeboxes again would be a dream come true!
    Thank you, dear Amanda, for using your “platform” to promote such an awesome, fruit-bearing ministry!
    Cindy 🙂

  11. I think one of the most awesome moments for me was hearing from a girl at our church in Nashville who was adopted as a preteen from Ukraine. (The whole story is REALLY cool and I will tell you some time!) She told our church about receiving a shoe box and the difference it made to her. Just awesome.

  12. Do you know how to get boxes from OCC? I know it is too late for this year but just wondering for next year. I checked all over their website but couldn’t find anything. Thanks!

  13. Love #1 on your list! I am having some similar thoughts after reading What the World Eats and looking at a World Vision catalog that arrived last week.

  14. I am recording artist, and I made a video to encourage each of my fans to make shoeboxes! I made my video long before the contest, so thanks for letting us all know. Thanks so much for supporting OCC.

    If you want to see my video, you can give it your 5 star rating 🙂 at http://www.occshoetube.com/component/content/article/38-other-stories/116-Operation-Christmas-Child-with-John-Gabriel-Arends

  15. Hey Amanda,
    I’m a little late! I have wanted to get involved with Operation Christmas Child for a long time and, apparently, decided to check it all out today. Do you happen to know if they will be doing this contest next year? Love to know.

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  1. […] was doing some blog reading last week and Oh Amanda’s post about Operation Christmas Child inspired me to make a couple of boxes to donate.  One thing that […]

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