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Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child logo It is that time of year again, Operation Christmas Child. There are many kids around the world that do not get Christmas presents. Many of these kids don’t even have toys to play with. Operation Christmas Child helps share the Love of God in a tangible way giving these kids toys and gifts.

National Collection Week November 14-21, 2016

Which seems to be the third week in November.

First learned

I knew of this from in 2012 at my church. It wasn’t until 2013, I dug more into it because of the passion and interest of a friend had for this ministry.

If you are looking for a way to serve, find a local distribution area or come to the national distribution center and serve. Bring the family or make it a date night.

What is Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child runs under the Samaritan’s Purse International Relief.  They deliver toys and goodies packed inside a shoebox for children around the world. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 135 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 150 countries and territories. For many of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received.

Some of these countries we may not be able to tell them about God, but we can show them about God through these shoeboxes of Agape Love. (a godly love)

2013 has Si Robertson of Duck Commander (Duck Dynasty) who was the celebrity sponsor in 2013.

You can find these boxes at local churches or local ministries. Not to mention, you can even order boxes online and find drop off locations online too. You can even use your own plastic box or shoe box too.

Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian relief and evangelism organization led by Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham.

Packing a shoebox

  1. Empty cardboard or plastic shoe box
  2. Mark for Boy or Girl
  3. Age Categories: (2-4; 5-9; or 10-14)
  4. Download or print the appropriate label and mark the age.
  5. Fill it with gifts
  6. Include $7 donation per box (helps with shipping and other related cost)
  7. Pray for the child who will receive the shoebox
  8. Local Drop off Dates (Check with your local drop off locations – see list below)
  9. National Drop off Dates (November 14-21, 2016)

Gift ideas

Toys

  • dolls
  • toy trucks
  • stuffed animals
  • kazoos
  • harmonicas
  • whitles
  • yo-yos
  • jump ropes
  • balls (plastic or rubber)
  • light up toys
  • noisy toys
  • Extra batteries
  • jacks
  • card games
  • matchbox cars
  • boxed puzzles
  • jump rope
  • marbles
  • finger puppets
  • bouncy balls
  • tennis balls
  • kaleidoscope
  • toy animal figures
  • slinky
  • small tambourine
  • wooden whistle
  • maracas
  • bells
  • wind chimes
  • hacky sack
  • legos
  • mini connect four game
  • paddleballs
  • playdough
  • rig toss
  • rubik’s cube
  • small checkers
  • small football
  • spinning tops
  • tennis balls
  • plastic animals
  • Toy Cars
  • Matchbox Cars
  • soccer ball  (Needs to be deflated See below if the soccer ball is inflated)
  • Pump to air up the soccer ball

School supplies

  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Colored Pencils
  • Sharpeners
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Stamps
  • Ink Pad Sets
  • Writing Pads
  • Paper
  • Solar Calculators
  • Coloring Books
  • Picture Books
  • Glue sticks
  • Stickers
  • Glitter
  • Mini Craft Kits
  • Erasers
  • Scissors are okay – must be rounded

Hygiene Items

  • Toothbrush
  • mild bar soap (in a plastic bag)
  • comb
  • washcloth
  • Travel sized-tissue paper
  • hair bows
  • barrettes
  • band aids
  • chapstick
  • brush
  • nail clippers
  • small first aid kit
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste (Canadian tooth paste won’t go through & starting 2017 will not be allowed

Wearables

  • gloves
  • flip-flops
  • socks
  • apron
  • hats
  • pillowcase
  • scarf
  • drawstring packpack
  • friendship bracelets
  • t-shirts
  • Purses
  • Tote Bags
  • Wallets

Misc

  • small reusable containers
  • cups (plastic)
  • Fork (Plastic)
  • Spoon (plastic)
  • Plate (Plastic)
  • Bowl (Plastic)
  • curly straw
  • collapsible water bottle
  • compass
  • duct tape
  • small flashlight
  • batteries
  • level
  • measuring tape
  • screwdrivers with changeable heads
  • Basic Tools
  • Fabric remnants/quarters
  • Wrenches
  • Hammer
  • Bibles
  • Stickers
  • Sewing Kits

A personal note

  • Enclose a note to the child
  • a photo of you and your family
  • If you include your name and address the child may write you

Do you have ideas of items to add? If so please leave a comment below that idea.

What not to include

  • Used items
  • Damaged items
  • war-related items
  • guns
  • knives
  • No Sharp-Pointed Objects
  • military figures
  • chocolate
  • food
  • out-of-date candy
  • liquids
  • lotions
  • shampoo or conditioners
  • nail polish
  • hand sanitizer
  • Liquid Soap
  • Lipgloss
  • Bubbles
  • medications
  • vitamins
  • breakables
  • snow globes
  • glass containers
  • Nothing made out of glass
  • aerosol cans
  • Saws
  • Blades
  • chocolate
  • candy that will melt
  • razors
  • Nothing Used or Worn
  • Aerosol cans
  • Rubber or toy snakes
  • No Pokémon
  • No Harry Potter
  • No Plant Seeds
  • Real or Play Money

Drop-off Locations
25 Miles of Jefferson City, TN

Newport, TN – First Baptist Church
261 E Broadway
Newport, TN 37821

Morristown, TN – Lakeway Community Church
1855 Sulphur Springs Road
Morristown, TN 37813

New Market, TN – New Market Baptist Church
921 Churchview Street
New Market, TN 37820

Bean Station, TN – First Baptist Church
5980 Highway 11W S
Bean Station, TN 37708

Seymour, TN – Seymour Heights Christian Church
122 Boyds Creek Highway
Seymour, TN 37865

The above list was taken from the Samaritan’s Purse Website for Operation Christmas Child. The above list was from 2016, this list is subject to change without notice.

Their times vary, you may want to double check by either calling the church directly or visiting the link below for locations. Locations were based from Operation Christmas Child’s web site. I am sure that others are out there, just not listed. Your local church may have a drop off location and then they will later take it to a National Drop Off location.

You can also call 1-800-353-5949 to find your local drop off location or you can visit: samaritanspurse.org/

Other tid-bits

  • If you order a box online you can follow the shoebox where it goes.
  • Also now they have labels you can print off to attach to your own box to track the location of your shoebox (where you pay the shipping on the OCC website).
  • Invite friends over and have a packing party, maybe watch a Christian movie or even the My Hope America
  • Do it as a kid activity and have the kids join in and help
  • If you stacked all 100 million shoeboxes on top of each other it will be 26,000 times higher than the Empire State Building
  • Start early, just start buying stuff all year-long and put it up.
  • You can even build a box through out the year and mail it to the distribution center in Boone, NC.
  • OCC puts an activity book in side these boxes and when the children complete them they get a certificate and now can help go spread the love of God.

Starting 2017

Toothpaste and some other items will no longer be allowed in the shoeboxes. So next year’s boxes check to see if those items have been removed.

Imagination

Let your prayers build these boxes. Please keep in mind the items that are not allowed. This list I have can go on and on, but I covered a basic list from a variety of sites. If you want, you can leave tips, comments, suggestions, etc as comments to this blog post.

Did you know?

Did you know that in most countries, these children cannot go to school unless they have school supplies? These supplies include pencils and paper. Not to mention, other supplies as listed above. Did you know that most of these kids will take their piece of paper they used today they go home and erase that paper so they can go to school the next day? So school paper, pencils and a lot of erasers are great for them.

Back to school time is a great time to buy extra supplies and include them for the shoeboxes you will pack. Even after back to school time too, when the prices are on clearance. Check out this story of families packing school supplies in their shoeboxes.

Even thought they exceeded their goal for 2015, many children still don’t get a shoebox. In 2016, Janet, a lady at at our church, who is our go to person for this ministry, said a lot of children don’t get a shoebox and get to see others open up one. So Please make sure you do a shoebox or more.

Note about soccer balls

Soccer is very, very popular in these countries. They play with the soccer ball until it wears out. Not just the one child, it gets the community involved and they all play soccer together. So try to include a deflated soccer ball and a pump so the child can pump it up. An inflated soccer ball won’t fit into a shoebox.

One person, Sarah Johnson, on the Operation Christmas Child Facebook page, showed how to deflate a soccer ball.

To deflate a ball, you need a ball pump with a needle. Detach the needle from the pump. Find the air valve (hole) in the side of the ball. Moisten the needle and slowly push it into the valve until you hear air hissing out. Gently squeeze the ball until it’s as flat as you want it, then carefully pull the needle out. Don’t try to squeeze every last bit of air out of the ball. If you do, the inner part of the valve may damage the lining of the ball so it won’t reinflate. Leave a little bit of air in there to cushion the valve.

More information

Visit: samaritanspurse.org/

Sources:

Please note I did some research and visited other web sites etc, to come up with this blog post. I used things that I figured would be good. Please note these boxes are inspected to make sure that nothing goes that shouldn’t belong. 

Check back often and bookmark this page, as this page will be updated regularly to add gift ideas and offer more tips. If you have any please comment with them below.

Originally posted November 9, 2013, update with changes and republished October 10, 2014 and for October 27, 2015. Updated and republished September 17, 2016.

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About

I am saved through the blood of Jesus Christ. I blog for God here at CourageousChristianFather.com. I serve as a youth leader, van driver and usher at my church. I also serve where ever else may be needed. I am working on a bachelor's degree in Theology. I also like to go out and hand out Gospel of John's and Gospel Tracts. I am a single father with custody of my almost adult child. I am a graphic designer too. Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle. I attained the rank of Eagle in the Boy Scouts of America in 1994.

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Comments

  1. Sondra Stone Sondra Stone says:

    Let’s all check this out.

  2. we are doing that at our Church I am helping with postage

  3. we are doing that at our Church I am helping with postage

  4. Tammy Argie Tammy Argie says:

    My family is taking part in this. Love knowing that we will be bringing a smile to a childs face

    1. That is totally awesome. It is a great thing. Can you image the look on the child that receives the shoebox. I am sure it is priceless. This is stuff they may have never got before. We here in America take a lot of things for granted. God bless you and your family Tammy Argie

    2. Tammy Argie Tammy Argie says:

      Yes we do. I grew up poor and to receive a gift of any kind was a blessing.

    3. I know the feeling. It is interesting those who are poorer usually give the most. Just like the widows mite.

  5. Tammy Argie Tammy Argie says:

    My family is taking part in this. Love knowing that we will be bringing a smile to a childs face

    1. That is totally awesome. It is a great thing. Can you image the look on the child that receives the shoebox. I am sure it is priceless. This is stuff they may have never got before. We here in America take a lot of things for granted. God bless you and your family Tammy Argie

    2. Tammy Argie Tammy Argie says:

      Yes we do. I grew up poor and to receive a gift of any kind was a blessing.

    3. I know the feeling. It is interesting those who are poorer usually give the most. Just like the widows mite.

  6. Steve,
    Thanks so much for supporting OCC. This is a wonderful ministry that our church supports as well. Your post is packed with all the needed info.

    1. You are very welcome. I am glad that your church is also a part of this ministry too. I’ve tried to make it all inclusive in the one blog post. If you can think of anything I might be able to add, feel free to share. Maybe gift ideas and such. Maybe packing tips etc. Thanks for the comment Scott. Have a great day and God Bless.

  7. Absolutely love Samaritans Purse Boxes. Our family has been filling them and sending them through our church for 18 years. I even had my 4-H club filling boxes. To see smiles on kids faces when they receive their boxes is wonderful.

    1. That’s totally awesome involving the 4-H too. It’s awesome to hear your family involved like that. God bless you all and thank you the comment.

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