My church has been collecting shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. In fact, we collected 8,000! Sadly, the 11 we packed? Not included in that number. Why? Because I didn’t bring them to church! What in the world?!
In my defense, we were coloring 11 2-page coloring sheets from the Operation Christmas Child website to enclose in each box. And that takes a very long time with a 4 year old. So, every week I kept putting it off until we had all the papers colored. Then suddenly the collection week was done and I’ve still got 11 boxes sitting in my living room!
So, I got online and found a few drop off points in my area. (My church is 45 minutes away!) The first one on the list wasn’t accepting boxes anymore (man, they’re on top of things!). The second one was collecting until Wednesday. *whew* We grabbed the coloring sheets (still half undone) and ran to the church. Which just happens to be a gigantic mega church with like 40 buildings. We wandered around the building toting 9 boxes (I’m going to take 2 with me to California!) and finally found the drop off point. There were still tons of boxes there and I felt much better seeing all of them piled up!
Then I realized: I FORGOT TO PRINT OFF THE LABELS. Like I forgot to do the main thing–print the boy/girl labels, donate the $7 for shipping and you know, FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS. Not to mention, when you do this online, you’ll get to follow your box and see where it was delivered! That’s my favorite part! Oh my goodness I was aggravated. Thankfully the man that took my boxes was totally understanding (and would have never suggested that I cart a 2 year old, 4 year old and 9 boxes back home to print the labels). So, I left them label-less and promptly sent the church a check to cover the labels. (Isn’t Operation Christmas Child happy they asked me to be on their blogger team this year?!)
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in waiting till the last minute and being forgetful. If you’re like me (or if you’re not and you just like to give), guess what Operation Christmas Child set up? A virtual Build-a-Box website! You can pick a boy or girl, their age and then fill a box with all kinds of treats!
The kids and I built one this morning and it was so fun! We chose a 10-14 year old boy because they are usually low on this demographic. Lydia picked a harmonica. I talked them into flip-flops. And we also chose a watch and a few other fun items. Then we got to upload a picture of our family and write him a note! And you’ll be able to follow your gift online! Isn’t that fun?!
They also add a list of like 15 basics (crayons, soap, etc.) to every box. I think this is just awesome–easy, fun and one of the best gifts you’ll give all year.
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, I will travel with Operation Christmas Child 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.
We did a box this year! My daughter and I had a lot of fun filling it up. We packed that box tight! I think it’s a great program!
Becky @ Our Peaceful Home says
We filled two boxes! We always fill one for each child in the family! It’s so fun for the kids to pick out things for their boxes!
The kids and I did our first boxes this year. I suggested that our small group do it as a project and have our kids pack them during our meeting. The kids helped picked out the items, they packed the boxes, and then Matt and our kids went to drop them off.
My embarrassing moment was when I brought my ‘standard’ sized shoe box that held those ballet-looking flats. Luckily, someone else had an extra box!
I didn’t know I could track my boxes! Matt printed off the labels–was there something else he should’ve done?
So, you did the $7 online? Then you should get an email when it’s delivered. That’s how it worked for us last year.
We did 2 boxes this year. I am going to do the build a box online. My 8yo will love that!
Our church collects them as well. We did two this year, one for a boy and one for a girl. The hardest thing for me was finding time to drop them off at church since we were out of town the two weekends they were collecting them.
Mary Beth says
My kids packed boxes on Sunday night at church. My daughter loved finding things to add to the boxes.
My 4 yr old daughter & I packed a box for a girl in her age group. It was a great lesson to let her pick toys & then have to give them away. My in-laws also sponsor a girl in haiti so we also packed a box for her “aunt Ruth” in the same fashion.
We packed boxes and I’ve been meaning to write a post about it, maybe during nap time. Isabel had fun unpacking as I packed and I remembered on Monday that they were still in my truck…thankfully Greyhound was still accepting them 🙂
I love OCC posts.And my kids and I have watched about a dozen of the OCC shoetube videos….did you upload yours?
OCC was so fun this year. Someone in our church donated $500 towards our OCC drive so I got to go shopping with it! It was so fun! We packed 30 boxes with that $$ and still had money to pay for the shipping. The party store was filled with fun stuff to pack. And I love being able to track the boxes…last year we had boxes go to Guatemala (I’m sure that is probably spelled wrong)!
I can’t wait to hear about your trip to CA! When are you going?
I’ll be there December 2-5! I’m going to bring a box w/me and hopefully follow it’s journey! 🙂
Erica E says
We did one box this year and it was so much fun! While finances are a little tight I was still able to put together a pretty fun box with stuff I got on clearance and even some things that had been given to my daughter that she wasn’t going to use (all new of course!) So even though we didn’t spend a lot I felt like we were able to make such a HUGE difference in the life of a child. Because tight finances for us means we can’t buy some of the fun stuff we want for our daughter or ourselves while tight finances for these children means no gift EVER! And the fact that we get to share Jesus with them at the same time is the icing on the cake!
My daughters (ages 3 and 11) both packed boxes at a “Giving Thanks” party. We ended up packing 9 boxes all together. It was so much fun!
We are having a Happy Birthday Jesus Party on December 22 with several preschoolers. I am hoping to win the DVD to play it at the party! It will be perfect!
How fun, Stephanie! I love both of those ideas!
We put together two boxes, and it was fun to do as a family.
I’ve done boxes for years & always have fun with it. I like to do 6 boxes one for each gender/age. I shop all year round for gifts/supplies getting things during sales, etc. It’s such a blessing to read how these simple boxes impact young lives all around the world.
I love your blog!
My kids and I made a box this year and loved it! One year I got to volunteer at a processing center for the boxes in Atlanta. It was a BLAST!!!!
We packed a box for the first time this year. My three-year-old daughter loved it and she filled out the “All About Me” page from the OCC website. We are excited to see where our box ends up!
My three year old daughter and I put together a box. It was so nice to see the thought that she put in this porject for our “Christmas Girl” (as she labeled it). She drew a picture and was so willing to give some of her toys. I am so proud of the way she showed compassion. : )
We did 3 boxes!! Each child made one and was so excited to give. This was our first year and I was so, so blessed to see my littles “enjoy” giving.
Our church used to do OCC and I really wish we still did. It was a lot of fun because parishioners would donate boxes and items and then the youth group and adults that wanted to help would pack up the boxes. I miss it. I didnt know about the virtual box. Thanks. I have been thinking about buying that St Nicholas DVD and hope I win 😉 Thanks!
Sarah Beakes says
I actually do have a box! Hope to drop it off ASAP!
Kelly N says
We made boxes this year. My sweet little girl got up one Saturday, got her piggy bank and said “I want to share some of this with other little girls” To avoid walking up and down the street and handing each girl we saw $1.27 we decided to do OCC boxes. My son and my daughter and I went to the store that morning, spent money from their piggy banks and packed the boxes. Their little prayers for the girl and boy was sweet and sincere and I am so gratful for this way to be a part of a child’s life – if even briefly. AND we would LOVE to have a copy of this veggie tales! It would be a blessing to us this Christmas
This year is our first year doing OCC boxes. My oldest son liked shopping for his box, and I liked buying “girl stuff” for my box. (I’m the mom of two boys, so I never get to buy that stuff!)
WE DIDN’T DO ONE THIS YEAR, BUT I THINK WE WILL NOW. I DIDN’T REALIZE YOU COULD DO IT ONLINE. THANKS.