Monday, 26 November 2012

Operation Christmas Child part 1

One of my favourite things in the lead up to Christmas is collecting for and filling up my shoebox for Operation Christmas Child.This is a huge undertaking by a charity called Samaritan's Purse to organise shoeboxes full of toys, stationary, toiletries and woolly things from groups or individuals in the UK to be distributed to children throughout the world who would not otherwise receive gifts.
For me, going shopping with the goal to get as much lovely stuff for some of the world's poorest children is something I enjoy. Even though I am buying 7 tubes of toothpaste or a bumper bag of pens and there is nothing intrinsically exciting about that, I think about the children who will receive these boxes and how happy they will be.
For the past few years, instead of filling a box by myself, I've been part of group efforts to fill many boxes. With my church when I lived in Bradford we devoted a whole Sunday service to filling boxes, children had to partner an adult, adults were not allowed by themselves! As I'm no longer there I joined my mum's women's fellowship group with there efforts.
Sending a shoe box is pretty easy to do
 First you need to wrap the box in Christmas paper. Often the boxes will be very special to the child who receives it so I try to use paper that is quite strong.

 If you're filling a lot of boxes I think its best to put out all the stuff that goes in them divided into categories; notepads, pens, cuddly toys, toothpaste, soap etc.
 Then the fun bit! fill your box. You choose whether you fill your box for a boy or girl and what age range they are and then pop it in your box. Operation Christmas Child suggest putting in toys, educational and stationary items, hygiene kit, sweets and woolly things like hats, gloves, scarves. I always try to put a small cuddly toy in and a ball and make sure each box has toothpaste, toothbrush and soap.
 Then you can write a Christmas card or letter to the child who will receive the box and include a photo of yourself  if you like
This is my filled up box, ready to go to the warehouse to be sorted.
Last week I went to the warehouse for all the boxes locally to help sort those, I'll write about that in another post though as this is already pretty long.

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