Operation Christmas Child Box Time!!

Five years ago, I was introduced to Operation Christmas Child.

It was my first year of MOPS and the October meeting came around when the discussion of packing boxes came up. I hadn't heard of Operation Christmas Child until that meeting. One of the moms mentioned Billy Graham. I don't care who ya are, you know of the evangelist, Billy Graham!!

They went on to explain that Operation Christmas Child is part of a larger organization known as Samaritan's Purse which is actually led by Franklin Graham (Billy's son). People (like my MOPS group) pack these boxes and send them to Operation Christmas Child who in turn distributes the boxes to kids all over the world.

The next meeting, we brought in all of our items from the packing suggestions list for the age group and gender we selected, and the packing began! It was so much fun to see the whirlwhind and yells to the other moms “Hey, do you need some extra toothpaste.” “Oh, geesh, how are we gonna fit all these toys in here. I guess we'll be shipping another box.”

It felt good to be in a room with this type of chaos! Every single mom was so focused and doing their very best to squish that one last thing in the box. It reminded me of how I sometimes try to squeeze into those pants I used to wear and really shouldn't but manage to do it. Let's just say, determination was the behavior of the hour!

Being in the presence of the chaos, oddly enough there was peace and clarity: boxes needed packed (to the brim), kids needed to get boxes, and God needed to be glorified. It was so encouraging, but not surprising in the least, to see these moms caring so much about the boxes, and ultimately really caring about the little hands who would receive them.

I immediately went home and shared this with hubs and our boys (just T and Caleb at the time). I told them we would get to shop to pack our own box together. They were so young that they didn't “get” the purpose behind it. They would eventually “get” it in time, I hoped anyway…

I'm sure many of you have heard of Operation Christmas Child. Or, actually, I shouldn't assume since just last week someone I spoke to hadn't heard of this amazing organization at all. This year, there will be another OCC packer that started just like I did those five years ago. These boxes are packed with necessities and fun stuff by you (us). They are then distributed to children all over the world at Christmas. But, more importantly, they will learn about Jesus and know that He loves them!

During this Operation Christmas Child packing season, I will be sharing like I have in the years past, highlighting items that are available to purchase that can fill your boxes. I even get to visit the Operation Christmas Child California processing center to see the processing in action – yeah, I'm STOKED!!

If you have any questions about Operation Christmas Child, please let me know. I'm going to do several posts throughout the packing season with a few things I've learned for the five years we've been doing this. I'm sure many of you have been packers for much longer so I'd love to hear your ideas too!!

Oh, and if you haven't seen this video, please take a few minutes to watch it. While I shared that my kids didn't really “get” it, sometimes it's hard even as adults to grasp. Acting in faith through small acts of generosity has an impact much more than we can ever fathom…

Now that you've dried your eyes from that awesome testimony in the video,
have you packed boxes before? Any helpful tips to share?
Also, please leave questions if this is new for you and I'll be sure to answer them!

by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on October 19, 2010


  • Melissa S - October 19, 2010 @ 12:50 pm

    I’m so excited that you are going to be doing post about this. Our 4th & 5th graders at church our doing this as a mission project and I really want to help but with a tight budget it has been difficult I can’t wait for your posts.


  • Kelly - October 19, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

    Hey Andrea – our church packs the boxes as part of our 30 Days of Service outreach efforts. This will be my 3rd year, and I can’t tell you how great the program is. Some of the folks were skeptical at first – then I began receiving letters from the kids and one of the directors in India. I have kept in touch, and trust me, these boxes are the highlight of their year!

  • Ginny - October 19, 2010 @ 5:32 pm

    How great that you get to go to the processing center! I’m excited for you.

  • Lane - October 19, 2010 @ 9:47 pm

    I just wanted to let you know that I got free Reach toothbrushes and free lip balm at Walgreens over the last couple of weeks, and tonight I got free Crest toothpaste and very inexpensive Dial soap to put in my shoe boxes. Back around Back to School time, I got pencils, erasers, markers, crayons, scissors, and rulers for not much. So my couponing is leaving me more budget to get really fun toys to fill up the rest of the box. I’m really excited about this year’s boxes. :-)

  • Jacqueline Sayers - October 20, 2010 @ 10:48 am

    Hi Andrea, I just wanted to say first thank you for all your good deals you share. I started this past summer helping with the shoe boxes, a dear family friend told me that her church has been doing shoeboxes for the past few years, and I told her I was into couponing, so I started picking items up here and there, then I asked if they would put a request in the church bulletin for the congregation to bring in their coupons they didnt use, then I would go through and use the extras for the boxes, it worked out great, they were able to increase the boxes to 150 this year. I cant pick up a package of Ivory Soap now with out a mental picture of those babes bathing in a river. I cant tell you how satisfying it was to help. I believe in passing it on system, if I can help in such a small way I do. I just wanted to share, Again, Thank you.

  • Sarah - October 20, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

    I don’t know anyone who does this, but have heard of it and am interested. Is there somewhere convenient that I can take my own boxes to, or somewhere I could send them?

    • Helene - October 21, 2010 @ 9:27 am

      Sarah, You can go online to http://www.samaritanspurse.org and click on Operation Christmas Child and you will put in your zipcode and it will
      tell you a location near you to drop it off. It will be a relay center or
      collection center. Also, you can pay shipping online and print off your
      label and it has a tracking number and they will send you and e-mail to
      tell you what country your box goes to. It is great. If you have more
      question, please e-mail me at [email protected]. Have a good day

  • Jacqueline Sayers - October 21, 2010 @ 8:43 am

    Sarah you may want to check with the local school or churches in your area.

  • Helene - October 21, 2010 @ 9:23 am

    I really loved that you are writing about OCC. I have been involved with it for
    6 years. My church is a relay center and we also pack boxes. We have 527 PACKED
    and we are going for 700 this year!!!! WE look for deals all years long. Sometime you can match up a coupon on toothpaste and ivory soap and get them for tax.
    I go to the ATLANTA processing center and it is great. GOD BLESS!!!!

  • sheila chaney - October 30, 2010 @ 4:45 pm

    Occ is an awesome program and I shop year round for bargains. Check online for dollar store wholesale items and you can come across some pretty good deals. Just set up an account under church or chariy and you can purchase items in bulk. We started Occ in our church 3 years ago and our goal for this year was to have 500 boxes, we are already at 541 and it is still October. I’m excited to see what God is going to do with all these boxes and I am so excited to be going to Boone NC to work at a processing center there. May God Bless every Child who recieves a box this year as well as their families.

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