Hope comes in all sizes. Even a shoe box. I vividly remember the day my mom found out about the Samaritan's Purse ministry, Operation Christmas Child. I was seven. I remember packing dolls and toothbrushes in a shoebox to send to a little girl on the other side of the planet.
This is a tradition that has continued my whole life and to me marks the official beginning of the holiday season.
Now that I'm a mom I have worked to continue the tradition with my own kids. Last year was the first year my five-year-old really understood. He was excited to give Legos and Play-do (two of his favorite things) to a "friend on the other side of the world."
Collection week begins Nov. 13 so there is still plenty of time to pack a shoe box and I wanted to give you a few reasons you would want to.
1. It teaches children compassion
Ryals and I have watched videos of children around the world receiving boxes. He understands that many of these boys and girls are his age and they have no toys, no socks and live in horrible conditions.
He is learning that it is our job to share what we have with others to not only help them but to, more importantly, teach them about the love of Jesus.
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." Mark 16:15
2. It's fun
I get a small thrill each year to see how much fun and practical stuff I can fit into a shoebox. It's like a challenge to make it all fit.
And each year I like to include different items than I did the year before. If you're looking for things to put in your shoebox this post has 101 ideas. (But skip the candy as it's not accepted this year!)
It can also be fun for your kids to pick out items to share and include. It's fun to talk about the people who might be on the receiving end of your gift.
3. It's affordable
The holiday season allows for many giving opportunities, but I've found that OCC fits most people's budgets. It costs $9 to ship the boxes and you can easily fill one for less than $20, or way, way less if you shop the sales year-round.
4. You can use your gifts
This one might seem a little off beat, but I love it. I know several women who have a gift for sewing and have included handmade items like pillowcase dresses, pants, and even handmade dolls.
In fact, my mother-in-law, who does not sew, has helped the ladies of her church make handmade items to send by simply cutting up the patterns. I don't know why I cry every time I think about her cutting up patterns. It must just be her willingness to do what needs to be done to bless someone.
5. You can do it online
I personally LOVE filling shoeboxes. But if you're super busy, live far from a distribution center or are just unable to hit up the store, you can fill a box online for just $25.
If you want more information about packing a shoebox or you need to find a distribution area where you live go here.