Operation Christmas Child

Each year our MOPS group participates in Operation Christmas Child. That is actually how I found out about this great organization. At our last MOPS meeting, it was time to start thinking about the boxes our group will send this year. We always end up having more stuff than the boxes will hold, inevitably getting us to make more boxes! Kinda like the fishes and loaves if ya ask me :)

If you haven't heard of Operation Christmas Child, here is a brief summary directly from the Samaritan's Purse Website:

Operation Christmas Child focuses on the true meaning of Christmas ‚,Jesus Christ ‚,God's greatest gift. Separate from the shoe box and when culturally appropriate, we offer children, “The Greatest Gift of All,” an illustrated Bible storybook in the local language. When possible, children can further explore a faith in Jesus Christ through a voluntary Bible study program.

The main donation item is the shoe box. To participate in giving your own shoe box, you simply:

  1. Find a shoe box for giving.
  2. Choose the age and gender the box will be packed for. Age groups are: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.
  3. Print a label to include with your box for sorting purposes.
  4. Fill the box with age/gender appropriate gifts.
  5. Include $7 in an enveloped marked “shipping” inside the box placed on the top.
  6. Label the box with the age/gender for the child. Place a rubber band around the box to ensure no contents fall out during shipping.
  7. Pray over your box for the lives it will touch. This is just a personal step that is simply the most important!
  8. Find a drop-off location to drop your box off. All boxes are accumulated and mass shipped to one location for overseas shipment. The collection week for most locations is November 16-23.

In the past, we have chosen the ages and genders that follow along with our sons' ages (and genders since they are boys :-) and each boy has their own box. We have also written letters with pictures attached to give it a a more personal feel.

I am able to get many of the hygiene items for FREE from deal shopping so we have more money to spend towards the “fun” stuff! I let my kids be in complete control when it comes to select the “fun” stuff for the boxes. We have fun at the Dollar Store to get the toys, flashlights, candies! Sometimes we're able to get clothing items on clearance at stores too.

This has become something my boys and I make a “date” of and really look forward to. Last year, my husband went to the infamous OSU/Michigan game so I was home with the boys and that was our night to shop. Of course, we always include something OSU-related in the boxes :-)

Sarah at Real Life Blog is working on spreading the word about Operation Christmas Child too! Please visit her post with details on how you can get more involved with the communication of this great organization!

Operation Christmas Child is just one way to give back this holiday season. Does your family pack boxes? Or, do you do something else to give back? Please share your ideas and stories! In this economy, giving back can be done inexpensively with a heart full of love! You will be blessed!

by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on October 20, 2009


  • Christie - October 20, 2009 @ 9:37 am

    Other tips:
    –use a plastic shoebox with a lid (you can usually find these at the dollar store) apparently the families really appreciate this reusable box!
    –These tips can help you plan ahead for next year.
    I start shopping for the next year the day I fill a box. I shop after Christmas sales, buying things at 50, 75, even 90% off. I also buy lots of things at back to school sales. Markers, pencils with a sharpener, scissors, small pads of paper. I buy t shirts at Kohl’s on clearance–wait until they get to 80 or 90% off. I figure that if the child I’m giving the box to doesn’t fit in the shirt, they would know someone who would. I also try to include a toothbrush and toothpaste (free from CVS).

  • Kandi - October 20, 2009 @ 9:38 am

    We usually do a “family box” for Operation Christmas Child, but our big thing is Toys For Tots. I take each of the kids on their own to the store and give them $15 to spend on whatever they want. Then we put the stuff into the TFT bins. I think this helps make sure that the kids who are doing without are getting things they might like. We also usually grab some of those scarf and mitten ornaments from a retail store and buy for those. With that we know the impact is felt directly in our community.

  • Erin - October 20, 2009 @ 1:33 pm

    Love Operation Christmas Child! We’ve been doing this for years. I’m really excited this year, if you pay your $7 shipping donation online you can sign up to be able to TRACK your package and see what country it ends up in! How fun is that!

  • Deb - October 20, 2009 @ 5:55 pm

    Our family has been packing Operation Christmas Child boxes for a number of years. The last couple of years, we’ve done 10 boxes–5 for girls and 5 for boys. I take my son (now 6) to the dollar store to let him help pick out small toys, hygiene items, and school supplies. Then we form an assembly line on the living room floor. We include notes and photos in each box. Last year we even got a letter back from a child in Africa who received one of our boxes!
    One way we like to keep the spirit of giving going throughout the year is by sponsoring children through Compassion International. My son requested that we sponsor a little boy in Ghana who is the same age. They exchange letters and are learning about one another’s cultures. My son is learning to appreciate his blessings a bit more as well as the chance to share them with a little boy on the other side of the planet.

  • Wendy - October 20, 2009 @ 8:54 pm

    We didn’t know about Operation Christmas Child until our church introduced us to it last year. It was an amazing experience for my then 6 & 9 year old to pick out items & pack the boxes. Even though I don’t think our church is doing it this year, I feel like this is a tradition our family will continue. So nice for kids to shift their focus away from themselves during the holidays & have an opportunity to share this with others.

  • Julie - October 21, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

    WOW I didn’t know you were a MOPS mom too!! :D what fun.

    we were told that the plastic shoe boxes are often used by the families to collect water, so that’s what our church and MOPS group always use.

    such an amazing program!!

  • Lynnette - October 21, 2009 @ 7:28 pm

    I miss having the opportunity to do Operation Christmas Child boxes as part of a group project, but my current church isn’t involved in this great ministry. At my previous church, we used to do boxes for Operation Christmas Child simply by putting reminders in our newsletter and weekly bulletin, and asking members to create their own boxes, which the church then delivered to the appropriate drop-site. But then we decided it might be easier on everyone’s budget if we made this a year-long project, so we took the list of items recommended by Samaritan’s Purse and divided them into a 12-month schedule. Now the church website, newsletter, bulletin, and e-mail news all include reminders about each month’s item, always with a note encouraging people to take advantage of sales to buy ANY item even if it’s not THIS month’s item. We also put an attractive box or glass container in a convenient place with a sign asking for donations to help pay the shipping cost. This was a great way to include people who had no interest in shopping. Then a week or so before the drop-off deadline, members (including kids) get together at the church and form an assembly line to pack boxes. Doing it this way has meant that the church is able to put together at least twice as many boxes as had been contributed by individual families. In our area, Dollar Tree has been a great place to shop for this project. I can usually find toothbrushes in multi-packs there, sometimes as many as 8 toothbrushes for $1.

  • Diana - November 02, 2010 @ 1:26 pm

    I have never heard of this project but I’ve already printed the labels and my girls and I will go shopping at Dollar tree tonight! My girls will love this! We usually do toys for tots but this year my husband asked that we look into helping out other lesser known charities. I think I’ve found our new one :) ( lesser known to us anyway.)

    Our church always does a holiday food drive for 75 needy families in our community and a mitten tree for a local homeless shelter. We always participate in those projects too. Esp. when I can get so much food for so little when I use my coupons! :)

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