Today officially kicks off the National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child, a gift giving initiative to provide for under privileged children across the world. During the third week of November, millions of boxes are collected at thousands of drop-off locations throughout the United States.
My parents instilled the value of giving in me at a young age, as I remember my brother and I each picking up a shoebox at our location church to fill and return. In my eyes, this is one of the easiest ways to demonstrate what it means to give, to children. In place of picking out toys for themselves, they are seeking items for a child in need.
This past weekend, I got the opportunity to share what it means to give back with my two younger cousins. After breakfast, we headed to the local dollar store to purchase items for “a boy that wasn’t going to get any Christmas presents.” While my cousins were a bit side-tracked by all of the cool games in the toy aisle, they continued to show empathy in picking out items that they might like, and in turn, the little boy might like as well.
It all starts with a shoebox.
The guidelines for this initiative are simple: Decide if you will pack a box for a boy or girl, and the age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. We obviously went with a boy, age 5-9, so that the boys could most closely relate.
Keep in mind, the item must fit inside a shoe box. Some recommendations for this item are an inflatable sports ball, or a stuffed animal.
Personal Care Items
Include items such as a toothbrush, bar of soap and wash cloth, or a small blanket.
Clothing and Accessories
Socks are an easy item to fill this void, as they are small and versatile for different ages and sizes.
Crafts and Activities
Items for this category may include a coloring book and crayons, Playdoh, or a jump rope.
Keep in mind that all items must fit inside a shoebox, so items like Hot Wheels and or a slinky are good ideas. They boys also love anything sticky, so we had to throw in a sticky hand too!
Children are encouraged to write a short note to the recipient of the box. They also say that if you include your mailing address, the child might write back to you as a pen pal.
I ended up spending around $20 total for this box. While it might not be the most extravagant gift, the hope is that it will brighten a child’s day, as well as teach a valuable lesson on giving back to my little cousins.