shop to give!
It’s that time of year again when we are able to spend pennies on school supplies for our children. Pennies. As much as I have griped about the ridiculousness of our school supply list (let’s just say that I have to buy eighteen rolls of paper towels for my preschool aged boys between preschool and their afternoon program. EIGHTEEN…and we don’t use a roll a month at our house!), I realize that I have to provide some of the supplies for their needs and for my Baptist preschool program that I choose to participate in.
But I beg you to please, please keep something in mind as you walk through the stores over the next few weeks.
The Operation Christmas Child shoe box drive is coming around again in November. November! Take the time now to prayerfully consider how many shoeboxes that you and your family and friends can fill for children who don’t have the same opportunities as we so. Imagine your children or grandchildren or nieces and nephews going to schools where they do not have the supplies needed for them to practice writing, to learn to read, and to learn about God. You know all those silly crafts that your kids may bring home from church? You know the ones that you toss in the trash a few weeks later (go on, admit it…we can’t keep them all). What if your kids never brought anything home because there was nothing to complete crafts with? Or Christian books to read? I can’t imagine the defeat that many parents around the world feel living in poverty that is unimaginable to me. And honestly, these small things…these school supplies…they are the least of these parents worries. They are more concerned with what they are going to feed their children and whether or not the water they can collect (not turn on a faucet) will be clean enough for their children to drink. They worry about actual roofs over their heads and actual clothes on their childrens’ bodies…not whether or not it’s the latest style. Our daily concerns seem so….unimportant don’t they?
Operation Christmas Child, a program that is part of Samaritan’s Purse, is a small way that YOU and your family can make a difference in the lives of children that you will most likely never meet. You can provide children with school supplies, Christian story books, small clothing items, hygiene products and small toys that will brighten their day and perhaps, just perhaps, save their soul. Your simple gift may be the reason they go to a church or read a Bible tract. It’s.that.simple.
So, when you are at the store, pick up extra crayons. Extra dry paints. Extra barrettes, small toys, Toothbrushes, etc. I’ve copied a list from my post on OCC last year so that you can see the items that are needed in these shoe boxes.
• TOYS small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, small Etch A Sketch®, toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries), Slinky®, etc.
• SCHOOL SUPPLIES pens, pencils and sharpener, crayons or markers, stamps and ink pad sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.
• HYGIENE ITEMS toothbrush, toothpaste, mild bar soap (in a plastic bag), comb, washcloth, etc. OTHER Hard candy and lollipops (please double bag all candy), mints, gum, T-shirts, socks, ball caps; sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries)
• A PERSONAL NOTE In a separate envelope, you may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. (If you include your name and address, the child may write back).
• DO NOT INCLUDE: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans
Last year, I also emailed and asked about scissors; they are ok to send as long as they are age appropriate.
Most likely, you’ll buy new shoes for your kids to start school back in. I know my mom always did. Save those shoe boxes! OR, slowly purchase some of those plastic shoe boxes and put them aside to use. I prefer to use these because after the boxes are empty, they can be used for other purposes.
Please consider taking part in the Operation Christmas Child program this year. I wanted to post early on OCC to put a bug in your ear so to speak. I want you to walk by those big bins of crayons and think, “I should grab a couple of those for my OCC boxes.” I want you to be burdened to act and to give generously. I want you to have an impact on the life of a child and their families who also see these acts of love and who also hopefully read the materials that are inside the shoeboxes. Your simple shoebox may change the life of one child to Christ or it might lead thousands to Christ. Another option is to donate your money for one of the many dire needs in the world. The Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog is available online where you can give money toward supplies, water filters, livestock, crops, housing needs, medical needs, etc. There are numerous opportunities for you to give and to share the love of our Father with the world.
Last year, our family filled six shoe boxes. And because I donated our $7 per box online, we were able to track our boxes; they went to India.
This year, our family goal (hehe, I made it) is to fill and sponsor 10 shoeboxes. We are blessed, and we should share those blessings with others.
Will you commit with me? How many boxes are you willing to pack?