It’s time to gear up for an exciting time of packing shoeboxes for children around the world
Autumn in the United States means a return to school, the reappearance of pumpkin flavors in coffee and baked goods, and a certain crispness in the air. For many people, it’s also the exciting beginning of shoebox packing season.
“My mother becomes a different person when you mention Operation Christmas Child or Samaritan’s Purse,” said Judi Wishart, an Operation Christmas Child volunteer.
Judi’s 90-year-old mother, Ruth Luethy, is passionate about making necklaces to include in her shoebox gifts. Along with thousands of others, adding a unique, personal touch to each box is one way that Ruth makes the project her own.
Sharing Christ’s love in a tangible way has been the heartbeat of Operation Christmas Child for 20 years. When Samaritan’s Purse first adopted the project in 1993, we never imagined that such simple gifts could help inspire generations of people to be givers. If there is one thing we have learned in the years since, it is that these gifts can be filled with great power when they are packed with love, covered in prayer, and sent in the Name of Jesus.
That power is evident in the lives of the millions of children around the world who have received a shoebox gift, heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, and graduated from The Greatest Journey follow-up discipleship classes. But it also is shown in the generations of families who have grown up packing shoeboxes and are now teaching their own children to give through Operation Christmas Child.
“Growing up, I actually did Operation Christmas Child every year,” said Kevin Johnson, a professional MTX rider and X Games gold medalist. “To be able to do that now with my wife and my kids is an honor.”
This project captures the hearts and imaginations of people like the Johnsons, who lovingly choose items to fill their shoebox gifts year after year. If you’ve never experienced the joy of packing a shoebox, you can learn how and get great ideas of what to include— from huggable toys to vital school supplies and necessities.
National Collection Week is November 18-25. You’ll be able to bring your lovingly packed boxes to one of thousands of local drop-off sites around the country. As you prepare to shop for and pack your shoeboxes, check out these exciting resources and ideas that many people have shared with us about the ways they enjoy participating.
In the words of Michael W. Smith, who has joined Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham in hand-delivering shoeboxes in South Africa and Ecuador, “It’s better to give than receive, and boy, you sure know it when you give out a shoebox.”