With Christmas just around the corner comes the time of the year for Operation Christmas Child. Christa already mentioned briefly in her blog but I'm going to give you the details. This is my fourth year organizing involvement in this project here at my work and I love it! It really is a wonderful charity, it is simple, inexpensive, AND a very tangible way to get involved and help kids all around the world who have been greatly affected by war, famine, poverty, and disease. Many of these kids have never received ANYTHING, many of them don't even have family, and my heart goes out to them. Sometimes it's hard to know what to do to help but I believe this is a start...
Here's the letter I sent out to my coworkers:
I've just checked the official countdown website http://home.valornet.com/sabruf2/countchr.html and we are now, believe it or not,
80 Days until Christmas Day! *(It's now actually only 44 Days til Christmas...wow!!)*
And now is the time of year to send my email regarding Operation Christmas Child a.k.a Shoebox gifts.
Many of you already know how this works. Operation Christmas Child is a project founded by the Samaritans Purse, a non-denominational christian organization founded in 1970 to provide emergency and international relief to victims of war, poverty, disease, and famine. The "shoebox gifts" began over 13 years ago with an emphasis on giving to children. The project involves filling a shoebox with new items to be sent to needy children all over the world. Here's the general outline once again with a few minor changes this year:
1. Come see me for your brochure complete with instructions and Boy/Girl label which you will need to stick to your box when you are done. *For you, visit the website for info http://www.samaritanspurse.ca/occ/ *
2. Find a Shoebox (or any box) - or many people last year used small plastic shoebox sized totes or photo boxes you can find at the dollar store or Walmart.
3. Boy or Girl - Is your gift for a boy or a girl? Choose an age (2 - 4 years, 5 - 9, or 10 -14).
4. Begin Collecting Items to fill your Shoebox. This is the fun part! Your neighbourhood dollar store is probably your best place to shop.
Items can include:
- Toys (Doll, ball, yo yo, slinky, cars, etc.)
- Toiletry items (comb, toothbrush/paste, washclothes, soap bar inside a plastic bag, etc.)
- School Supplies (pens, pencils, crayons, writing pads, colouring books, etc.)
- Candy (Last year, you could include gum, this year they have changed it to include HARD INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED CANDY ONLY)
- Others (socks, tshirts, hair clips, sunglasses, hats, etc.)
Remember DO NOT include:
- Liquids (these can freeze or spill)
- Food items (candy mentioned above is okay but chocolate, for example, can melt)
- Breakables (ceramic figurines, glass cups, mirrors)
- Used Items
- Harmful or "Scary" Items (war figures, toy guns, sharp objects)
5. Pack your Box. You can wrap your shoebox in Christmas paper if you wish. Make sure you wrap the lid separately. You may also include a photo of yourself or your family or a letter to "your" child. When you are done, stick your Boy/Girl label on top of the box, check off the appropriate age, and secure the box with an elastic band or two.
6. $7 Shipping/Handling Cost PER box: Please keep in mind these boxes are travelling to all corners of the world and the organization needs this money to send your gifts. This means a packaged shoebox will cost you approximately $17-$22 in TOTAL. Your dollar store items will cost you between $10 - $15 plus your shipping fee of $7.
6. Drop off - at my work, everyone brings them to me and I drop them off. *For you,
Visit the website http://www.samaritanspurse.ca/occ/dropoff_locations/ for the location nearest you.
1. You can make a cash donation to the organization. Remember that any amount over $10 is tax deductible.
2. Other gifts: Samaritans Purse also provides many other services for needy families around the world. There's a catalog (or see online) where you can purchase items such as Mosquito Nets ($9), Hot Meals for a week and a half ($10), Family Survival Kit including bottled water, blankets, cooking items ($65), Medical Supplies ($100), etc.
I have been asked "How do you know this organization is legit?", "How do you know where the money goes?". These are very valid questions and I've asked them myself. I have done quite a bit of research about the "Samaritan's Purse" organization and I am very confident that our donations and shoebox gifts are indeed reaching all over the world to children in need. If you would like to research for yourself, financial statements, auditors reports, etc. are all listed online at http://www.samaritanspurse.ca/occ/. You can also visit me for a video (from last year) or a new DVD (en route to me) to see gifts being delivered. It's amazing to watch the children so thrilled by such a small shoebox filled with items most of us take for granted. *This video is also available to watch online*
Thank you so much in advance for your participation. Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or concerns.
Just something to keep in mind. Christmas is a time of giving and I believe that God greatly blesses us for the work we do to help those in need. For this and any other involvements you have in your church, school, community, or business - THANK YOU!