My favorite activity to do with my boys as the holidays approach is to purchase, pack and pray for Operation Christmas Child (OCC) Shoeboxes. It's a wonderful, tangible way to love on children and give hope this season. AND a great way to get your children involved!
If this is your first time to pack a shoebox here are some steps to success!
1) WATCH A OCC VIDEO
I like to watch a video with my boys before we go purchase the items for the box...so they remember who we are buying them for. Here is a link to all the OCC videos, followed by the one I thought young children would understand best. OCC Videos (Ukraine).
Overview Video to show your little kids: Click here.
2) CHECK OUT WHAT to include and HOW TO PACK A SHOEBOX
Each year I forget what I can and can't pack in a shoebox. So here is the link on How to pack a shoebox & what to include. Basically no liquids and no war/aggressive/military items. I like to buy plastic shoe box containers but you don't have to.
The link will also give you this label to print off and put on your box:
3) DECIDE IF BOX IS FOR BOY/GIRL & AGE RANGE
Decide with your child if your box will be for a boy or girl and what age range. My boys usually chose boys (which is good since there are fewer boxes sent for boys than girls) and they usually chose the age they are.
4) MAKE IT PERSONAL
Include a picture of your family and a note from your children...if your child can't write yet, have them color or draw a picture. Here are two pages you can print off for your child to fill out and send with the box: About Me Coloring Pages
5) PAY TO SHIP IT (and FOLLOW IT!)
Once you have it packed and labeled, go online and pay the $7 to ship the box and when you pay online you have the option to follow where your box will be delivered. Which is great for educating small children as well. Follow where your box goes
Pray with your children for the child that will receive that box. Pray that it will bring joy and hope. Pray that God will use this gift to draw them to the gift of His Son.
7) DROP IT OFF
Some churches/MOPS/schools have places to drop-off boxes this week (Nov 14th to 21st is collection week) Here is a link to the Drop-off locations near you.
8) THE GREATEST JOURNEY
Doesn't end with the shoebox! There is a discipleship program that is offered to OCC shoebox recipients called "The Greatest Journey". They learn how to become faithful followers of Christ!
For more info on packing a shoebox, check out these great posts by some awesome women (including an idea for what to include in your box):
VERY Thorough post on OCC Shoeboxes: Top Ten Reasons & How-to (including a video by Veggies Tales) by Mommy on Fire
"Verses on the poor that can be read/memorized with your children are a great way to tie-in truth. We also try to discuss how we have been blessed with resources so we are sharing our blessing but they are blessed with abundant joy. Gratitude. Love. It comes so easily to others who don’t live in an upside down world. (I don’t want my crew to feel like we are looking “down” on the poor but rather sharing the gifts God has given us and realizing that they gift us, too.)"
Boxes of Hope by Denise in Bloom
that can bring a change and leave an impact on a child’s life. Its so small compared to what American children across the country will receive–what my kids will receive this coming holiday. Its the least we can do."
Operation Christmas Child: A Pictorial by Mommy on Fire
"to those who can’t get there fast enough in Uganda. Because Faith is a verb!"