We hope and pray that you are getting excited about packing your love-filled shoebox for Operation Christmas Child this year. It’s hard to believe, but National Collection Week is right around the corner. Before we look at 3 WOW! Items for your shoebox, let’s discuss what kind of shoebox works best.
Does Shoebox Size Matter?
Yes. Pick out an average size shoebox. Not too big, not too small. Odd-sized boxes are harder to put in a big carton, especially if they are really big shoeboxes, resulting in less boxes being packed in a carton. Since it costs about $100 to ship one carton, the more boxes we can get in one carton the better.
Cardboard or Plastic?
Either is okay. The main thing is to get a sturdy shoebox. Cardboard shoeboxes hold up well when they are transported. They are usually more hardy than the red/green “GO Boxes”. “GO Boxes” are great because they are easily recognizable and you can pack 21-22 into one shipping carton. Plastic boxes are great too, provided you get a sturdy one with a flat, snap-on lid. The hinged lids are bulkier, making them harder to fit into a carton. The added benefit of a plastic box versus a cardboard box is that they are longer lasting and can be re-used for a number of things, like storage. If you wrap your shoebox, remember to wrap the lid separately. Don’t forget the label!
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
Now let’s discuss some options for your WOW! items…
3 WOW Items to Pack in your OCC Shoebox
- A deflated soccer ball and pump
Soccer is the most played sport in the world. The language of soccer is universal and a great way for kids to make friends in their community. Think of the potential for sharing the Gospel that this gift can provide.
- A harmonica, wood flute, or small glockenspiel
Learning how to play a musical instrument is fun. Studies show that music is good for your soul and for you mind. Kids love music!
- An outfit or clothing to wear
This will give them something that they can think of you each time they wear it and make them feel loved and special.
So you’ve picked out your WOW! item. Let’s look at some other suggested items to include in your love-filled shoebox gift.
Other things to Pack
Toys: yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries).
School Supplies: pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, notebooks, paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books.
Non-liquid Hygiene Items: toothbrushes, bar soap, combs, and wash cloths.
Accessories: T-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, and flashlights ( don’t forget the extra batteries)
A Finishing Touch
Consider enclosing a personal note to the child. Include a picture of you and your family or group. Be sure to include your name and address so that the child can write you back.
Are there things I shouldn’t pack?
Yes, there are definitely some things you want to avoid packing.
PLEASE DON’T PACK THESE ITEMS:
Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives, or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; fruit rolls or other fruit snacks; drink mixes (powdered or liquid); liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.
Candy specifications: During 2016, the following types of candy can be included in shoebox gifts: hard candy, gummy bears, caramels, taffy, and gum—as long as its expiration date is at least six months after National Collection Week: Nov. 14-21, 2016. Starting in 2017, no type of candy can be included in shoebox gifts.
Toothpaste specifications: Toothpaste can be included this year as long as its expiration date is at least six months after National Collection Week: Nov. 14-21, 2016. Starting in 2017, toothpaste cannot be included in shoebox gifts, but a child’s oral hygiene can still be improved by regular use of a toothbrush alone.
The Power of Prayer
Last and not least, once you’ve packed your box, closed the lid, and labeled it, PRAY over your box. Prayer is the single most important thing you and I can include in our box. God works through prayer to meet the needs of children everywhere. SO PLEASE PRAY HARD AND OFTEN!
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16b (NIV)
All done? Here are some locations that you can drop your shoebox off at during National Collection Week.
Remember, each shoebox gift is the opportunity for a child to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. What better gift can any of us give someone than that?