Christmas in October? I know, we haven’t even celebrated Halloween yet so why am bringing up Christmas?! Well, it’s time to start thinking about putting together shoe box gifts for Operation Christmas Child. Collection week is just a month away – November 12 – 19, so I wanted to tell you about it now so you’ll have time to get them ready. It’s a really easy and fun way to give back.
Samaritan’s Purse International Relief is a non-profit organization that provides emergency relief all over the world to victims of disease, war, natural disaster and famine. One of their projects, Operation Christmas Child [OCC], has been distributing gift filled shoe boxes to underprivileged children in over 130 countries for nearly 2 decades. This is something I look forward to every year, it’s fun, takes very little money, and truly means a lot to the children.
All you do is visit their website, choose a gender and age group and fill a shoe box. They have instructions on their site with a list of suggestions on what to put in the boxes, things like small toys, markers, note pads, candy, even a toothbrush. They make it easy, all you do is pack the shoe box and take it to a local drop off station and they send them off. Let’s help them reach this year’s goal of 100 million shoe box gifts!
Get your kids involved. I love putting the shoe boxes together and my kids have fun helping me choose the goodies to fill them with. It’s important for my kids to see that not everyone is as fortunate as they are. Doing charitable work helps kids become caring well-rounded individuals, particularly in the world we live in. They must be absorbing the message, one afternoon last summer, my boys set up a stand to collect donations for The Children’s Hospital, then they went through their toys picking out things to donate to homeless kids – all on their own accord! It sure warmed my heart and made me proud. And it certainly was a nice change of pace form the usual, “can we have this… can we do that!?”
It’s common knowledge that helping others makes us feel good but it may also benefit our health. In the book, The Healing Power of Doing Good, Alan Luks and Peggy Payne set out to show how one’s physical health improves along with emotional well-being when we volunteer. They theorize about what they call the “helpers high,” similar to what runners feel when endorphins are released.
Although the items in these boxes are simple little things, for some of these kids, it might be the first gift they ever receive. It means so much to them and helps make their Christmas morning a little brighter ♥