Operation Christmas Child
I heard about Operation Christmas Child back in July, but decided to put off blogging about it until closer to... Christmas. I'd never heard of it before, but it's apparently a big organization, bent on giving children in need gifts for Christmas from total strangers in a shoebox. Here's the link to the webpage:
It's a Christian organization, in case you haven't put 2+2 together, but you don't have to have anything Christian in the shoebox or BE a Christian to donate. Here's the link to how to pack the shoebox:
Basically, you find a standard size shoebox OR one of those shoebox sized Rubbermaid containers. You don't wrap the gifts inside, but you can wrap the box and the lid separately, so don't wrap it as a single gift. They have to open the boxes to inspect what's inside to make sure people aren't giving knives and shards of glass, etc.
You determine if your box will be for a boy or a girl, and you print out their nifty boy/girl card on their site along with a $7 donation (to cover the cost of shipping and such) and put this inside your box as well. You also determine the age group of your child, so toddler, child, or teen.
Then, you go to any store you like and buy small items that would make a child happy. Here's a list of their gift ideas.
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.
pens, pencils and sharpener, crayons or markers, stamps and ink pad sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.
toothbrush, toothpaste, mild bar soap (in a plastic bag), comb, washcloth, etc.
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Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snowglobes or glass containers; aerosol can.
If you want to send a shoebox, you need to do it fairly quickly, as the drop off times are this month. Here's the info:
Place a rubber band around each closed shoe box and drop off at the Collection Center nearest you during our collection week November 17 - 24.
For locations and hours of collection visit our Drop-Off Locations page where you can find the nearest place to take your shoe box by entering your ZIP Code or you can call 1-800-353-5949.
I just love this idea, it's cheap, and if you go on You Tube and look up Operation Christmas Child, you'll find so many inspiring videos of kids who literally light up upon opening their box full of awesome "wonders" to them. I've become a sap since I've had my own children, and watching TV shows and commercials with children in need, sad, or injured, makes me tear up and ball like a baby myself. So I think I'm going to do this, which means I need to get out and shop NOW, but how awesome for some little kid somewhere in the world who can have a Christmas morning because of you. :) Make the world a better place, one child at a time!