Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Box for Christmas: Tips for an OCC Packing Party

This week has been absolutely crazy and somewhat heartbreaking (maybe more on that later), but this week also marked one of my favorite events of the year...Operation Christmas Child Collection Week!!!  To get my mind off some not so fun stuff, I want to share a little more about this ministry with y'all!!!

Brett and I are year-round volunteers with Samaritan's Purse and right now we are serving as relay center coordinators, which means we host a drop off location.  Last year, our first year as a drop-off we collected 249 boxes!  This year, our church alone packed about 235 boxes!!! (Final counts to come in tomorrow! Watch for update!!!)

Last year I shared some ideas of items to put into a box and WHY they are good suggestions.  This year I wanted to share some tips on organizing a packing party.

1.  From my post last year you can see how some items can be really important in these boxes, so these items I recommend buying in bulk for your "goal" number of boxes.  School Supplies, Soap, Toothbrushes, & other hygiene items.  Two ways to do that are coupon-ing (all year or a few good trips before packing) and, especially with a Prime membership.  You can even support the ministry further by selecting "Samaritan's Purse" through Amazon Smile! HERE are some Amazon items.

2.  Have multiple people/small groups collect "WOW" items.  This will create a diversity in your items.  Plus you will all get ideas from each other; we had outfits, sports equipment, large toys, musical instruments, tools, large sewing kits...  It really is exciting to see what others come up with!

3. Be organized.  The level or organization necessary will depend on your group... the size, avg age etc.  Our group was large and included all ages.  We created a packing "buffet" of sorts; we started with a box, and went through a line of tables picking items that we sorted out into categories.  The last table was a misc pile of "filler items."

4. Don't forget to make them personal.  One of the main things we have run into when packing multiple boxes is forgetting to ad an individual personal touch on each box.  The filler items are the first way to do this.  When each "packer" gets to the table with multiple random items, it will give them a chance to pray "what will the child receiving this very box want/need?"

 - The second is to include a personal letter and/or even a picture.  Give that child an opportunity to see that a real person is on this side of the box loving and praying for them.  At the end of the packing line have a empty table available to sit and take time to write out a note or at least a few words!  Or even use this fun sheet to give them a little info about yourself!

5. Pray as a group over the boxes.  There is something about circling around the boxes as a group and inviting Jesus to go before them, to prepare the hearts to receive His message when they receive this small simple gift.

Each year I am blessed more and more to be a part of this ministry.  I would love to answer any questions you may have about packing a shoe box.  Click HERE for more information on our involvement with OCC.