Thursday, December 10, 2015

Fun & Eternal; What to pack in your shoe-box and why

As I mentioned before, November was crazy and exciting.

Sometimes I look at our calendar and think, "we over did it," "we should have said no," or "when will things slow down?"

But when I am passionate about something, I want to be involved in it.

Last year while packing our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, I was so surprised to discover how many people from our church and community didn't know anything about this amazing ministry.  So the last week before collection week we scrambled to tell people about it and were so greatful that our little church packed over 40 boxes!

Over the last year Brett and I felt God calling us deeper into the ministry, so we signed up as year-round volunteers and became a new relay center, or drop-off location!  We had no idea what this year would be like since there are still so many people in our little community that aren't aware of the difference Samaritan's Purse is making around the world, but mostly that THEY (YOU) can be apart of it!

This November I am thrilled to say that our church more than doubled the number of boxes they packed and we had 250 boxes dropped off, mostly from first time packers.  Now I know that if we are comparing, this doesn't sound like a lot, but y'all, we were ecstatic and can't wait to see what God does next year!!!

And take a look at some of the help I had...

Also we will be attending the processing center in Dallas again this year, it was a huge blessing last year and I cannot wait!!!

Soooo, maybe you aren't familiar with the difference you can make with just a shoe box!!!

Here are some ideas to put in your shoe-box, but I am also going to tell you Why they are important, you might notice this list is a little different than a typical kids "wish list!"


School Supplies: notebooks, pens, pencils (don't forget sharpener & erasers), crayons, calculators, safety scissors (yes you can send them), glue sticks (NOT bottled liquid)

For many kids, having school supplies is a requirement to go to school.  If the family does not have money to purchase school supplies, often that means the kids are not allowed to go to school.  Receiving school supplies gives a lot of children the opportunity to attend school that they might not otherwise have!

Hygiene Items: washcloth, bar soap (no liquid), toothbrush, toothpaste, combs/hairbrush, plastic mirror*, chapstick

Many of the shoe-box recipients live in orphanages, where EVERYTHING is shared.  Simply having their own washcloth can mean everything to a child!  Most people in poverty still appreciate cleanliness, they likely just lack the necessary tools. 

*Don't send breakable glass. Although we see a mirror in multiple rooms of every building, a lot of other countries do not have mirrors so prevalent; and having a camera or getting your picture taken cost money.  It is not unlikely that someone in poverty has never seen themselves or know what they look like! 

Trade Tools: (10-14 age) hammer, nails, (no knives) duct tape, compass, flashlight, sewing kit, fat-quarters, crochet hooks/knitting needles, yarn

In many circumstances, some of the financial responsibility falls to the children of the family.  Giving them the tools to learn safe, ethical trades, will help prevent them from falling into slavery traps, & set them up to earn a living for a lifetime!

Clothing: hats/gloves, shoes**, socks, simple outfit 

Something we so easily take for granted! For impoverished children, the clothes they do have are usually already worn out and have been thrown out by someone else.  They won't have many and what they do have will be hand-washed, which wears them out much faster.  Having shoes can prevent foot injuries that would likely become infected.

**a pair of tennis shoes or boots would obviously take up an entire shoe-box, think of other options such as flip-flops, crocs, water-shoes, canvas slip-ons etc.

Other: water bottle, lifestraw 

Clean water is hard to come by in many areas around the world, having a water bottle can allow the child to take more than a single drink, hydration is very important to health! 

Fun stuff: small knick-nack toys, hard candy (no chocolate), hair accessories, coloring book

Every kid needs to feel like a kid!!!

WOW item: stuffed animal, soccer ball, ball cap, doll, musical instrument, 

Any larger item that will immediately catch the child's attention when the box is opened!

Personal Notes: pictures of yourself, letters, about me coloring page, name and address

A personal note to a child is the heart of the box, tell them they are loved, show them someone on the other side of the world is thinking of them! In some cases the children may be able to write back.

DO NOT Send: liquid, weapons, war related items, nail polish, glass or breakable items, high value jewelry or other items, used items, food, medicine, aerosol cans.

Liquid or breakable items, as well as melted candy can damage other gifts in the box and other shoe-boxes, high value items can put the child in danger.


Pray while you are making selections for your box, somewhere, the child that will receive your shoe-box, is praying for a specific item.  Pray over your box and the child that will receive it.

I hope this has been helpful, it sure has got me excited all over again! If you like to plan ahead, Samaritan's Purse has a calendar for purchasing items year round!!!

Click Here for more ideas!!!
Here are a few pictures from our family packing party...

Can you tell what the guys have been doing!?