Franklin Graham, Samaritan's Purse President, distributing presents to kids.
Franklin Graham, Samaritan’s Purse President, distributing presents to kids.

For several years my family and I have had the privilege and joy to participate with Operation Christmas Child (OCC).  OCC is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse that distributes approximately 100 million shoebox gifts to children all over the world.  Receiving a  gift may not sound like much, but many of these children would not receive any Christmas present at all if it were not for this ministry.  Most importantly through this simple shoe box gift children get to hear about the greatest gift of all – the free gift of salvation that we can have through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Caffeinated Thoughts wants to partner with OCC so we’ll be sharing stories and videos from time to time up until collection week.  Be sure to share this opportunity with family, friends and your church.

Packing a box is not difficult.  Here is how you do it:

  1. Find that empty shoe box and decide whether or not you want to give to a boy or girl and what age category (2-4, 5-9, or 10-14).  Download and print the appropriate boy/girl label.
  2. Fill your shoe box with gifts.  Here are some suggestions:
    • TOYS: Include items that children will immediately embrace such as dolls, toy cars, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries), etc.

    • SCHOOL SUPPLIES: pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, notebooks, paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.
    • NON-LIQUID HYGIENE ITEMS: toothbrushes, bar soap, combs, washcloths, etc.
    • ACCESSORIES: t-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries), etc.
    • A PERSONAL NOTE: 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 be able to 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NOT INCLUDE: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans. (If you include these items they will be removed at the distribution centers, so you end up wasting your money.)

  3. Donate $7.00 to cover the cost of shipping the shoe box.  Write a check to Samaritan’s Purse and write “OCC” in the memo.  Put it in a envelope on top of the items in the shoe box.  You can also donate online to find out where your shoe box gift is going.
  4. Pray for the child that will receive your gift, pray that they will be receptive to the good news of Jesus Christ.  Pray that God will show His love through this simple gift.  Pray also for those volunteers who will work in the distribution centers here in the United States helping prepare these gifts to go overseas (my family and I did this last year and it was amazing).  Pray as well for those who distribute to children on site.
  5. Drop your gift off.  Shoe box collection week is the week of November 17th.  You can find out where you can drop off gifts in your area here.
I was busy taping boxes at the OCC distribution center in Bloomington, MN.
I taped boxes at one of the OCC distribution centers in Bloomington, MN.

My wife introduced this to our church last year (we have participated before in previous churches and just on our own for years).  Our small church plant sent 76 boxes, and we are doing it again this year.  If you are unable to physically do this, you can actually “pack” a shoe box online.  It doesn’t get simpler than that.

Through the power of Christ, one shoe box gift lovingly packed by a family or an individual and delivered to a child overseas can inspire pastors, multiply congregations, plant new churches and inspire children to share the Gospel with family and friends.

Take time to watch this short video and get involved!

Please let us know if you participate. Let’s see how many gifts Caffeinated Thoughts readers send.  You can share about your participation here or by filling out the form below.

We will announce how many participants we had after collection week.  We hope you join in!

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