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Act on this Operation now!
Make this act one of your favourite Christmas traditions too.
Get your shoes out, wear them, then think about what you'd like to fill the box with. How many little exciting presents can you fit into one simple shoe box? Like the sound of this simple challenge? Then read on...
Many children across the world are crying out for simple pleasures. Pause for a moment from spoiling your own children and find the time to think about others more needy than your own. I, like so many other parents from our society want to get new and exciting gifts for my children and am often guilty of spoiling them .You may think that Operation Christmas Child just makes me 'feel better' about myself. Well, yes, it does; however, I find this small act very significant in the way I have been viewing the Christmas period .
~~~~ So what's Operation Christmas Child? ~~~~~~~~~
"Operation Christmas Child sends a message of hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes."
I picked up my information leaflet from my Church which states on the front "Operation Christmas Child is a project of 'Samaritain's Purse' meeting the critical needs of victims of war, famine, disease, and natural disaster while sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ." All the directions are in the leaflet along with a little story of a child who recieved one of the gift boxes.
Many schools and Nurseries also take part in the collection of boxes so you may come across a leaflet from there.
You can also go to samaritainspurse.uk.com for more details about the charity. Even if you pooh-pooh the idea of spreading any religious beliefs it is worthwhile looking at this project as making a difference to many many poverty stricken families around the world. " The gifts are given regardless of nationality, political background or religious beliefs" . I shall explain further.
This is an anual project which has been in operation since 1990. It enables individuals, families, schools, churches and other organisations to fill ORDINARY SHOE BOXES with small toys, school supplies, hats, scarves, and other gifts for hurting children around the world. There are the figures of what went where on the website so you can get an idea of the scale of the project.
In 2005, 1.18 million shoe boxes were distributed to needy children in the countries shown below:
Total 1,180,786 Armenia 30,062 Belarus 186,801 Bosnia 76,704 Croatia 10,476 Hungary 8,725 India 87,900 Kosova 24,911 Kyrgyzstan 60,456 Mozambique 30,024 Romania 267,931 Serbia 193,870 Swaziland 23,820 Ukraine 179,106
Samaritains purse collects and processes those shoe-boxes in warehouses across the UK. Then working with national
churches and charities it delivers them to children in hospitals, orphanages, refugee camps, homeless shelters and impoverished neighbourhoods. As mentioned before, those "gifts are given regardless of political background or religious beliefs to children requiring nothing of them, their families or communities in return." Samaritains Purse says " Because it is Christmas, then wherever it is culturally appropriate and working in partnership with local people, we make available to the children a booklet of Bible stories in their own language explaining the true meaning of Christmas - God's gift of His Son, Jesus Christ." I would say then that's individual choice to make of the information what they will. I believe it's worthwhile supporting this operation as a small caring act.
~~~~ How to fill your shoe-box ~~~~~~~~~
1:::: Find a MEDUIM sized adult shoe box. (Boxes which are too large can be split by the volunteers so it is preferable for you to make sure yours is medium to start with) I had a dilemma with mine as I got an old box from my Mum. She said to me "I've got big feet.. I don't know whether these are classed as medium sized!" I plumped for her old boxes anyway as all I had were tiny child's shoe boxes.
Cover your box in Christmas paper making sure you wrap the lid and box seperately. For mine I used a combination of stick glue and sticky tape to make sure the paper was extra fast.
2:::: Decide if you are collecting for a girl or boy, and for what age range. You need to affix your sticker to the box with this information. These are provided with the leaflet or you can print them from the website.
3:::: Fill the box with gifts. Do not wrap any items individually. The gifts can be a selection from the following:
" A cuddly toy A toothbrush, toothpaste A wrapped bar of soap and flannel A notepad, colouring book Picture books Pencils and pencil sharpener, pens and paper A set of crayons or felt pens A hat, cap, gloves, scarf A small ball or tennis ball A puzzle e.g. small jigsaw For boys: a toy car, truck, passenger plane or similar item For girls: jewellery (e.g. pair of clip earrings, make-up or hair accessories) A greetings card or a photo of yourself Sweets (must be at least March of next year sell-by-date) Small musical instrument
Do NOT include items from any of the following categories:
No chocolate due to customs regulations in some receiving countries Other edible items (e.g. crisps, biscuits, tinned food or cake) War related items (e.g. toy guns and soldiers, knives) Clothing (other than listed above) Glass containers, mirrors or fragile items Liquids of any type (e.g. blow bubbles, shampoos, bubble bath, toiletry sets or aerosols) Marbles or sharp objects Anything of a political, racial or religious nature Medicines Novels
Due to import regulations, all goods should be new or very nearly new.
4:::: Donation. You can use the envelope attached to the leaflet to enclose a cheque of £2.00 or more and place it on top of the contents inside your box. Alternatively you can make a donation via the website. The £2 or more goes towards distribution, transport, processing and promotion. If you want to receive the official Thank you Report, there is a box to tick on the donation form.
5:::: Secure the lid with an elastic band, and DO NOT seal the box as it will need to be checked to ensure it meets Customs requirements.
~~~~~~~~~~ Dates for collections ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Campaign dates for this year are 4th - 20th November. This is for individuals and groups (up to 50 boxes).
Local details of collection points are not on the leaflets. You can find out from the website by typing in your postcode, where there is a collection point near you. All the small collection points I know of were not listed here so I would urge people interested to contact their local churches or schools for informatin on local collection and drop off points and dates.
If you are dropping off your box at a local church or school then you will be told by them when you need to return them by in time for them to be taken to the drop off point. You can also use the helpline below for enquiries about dates, drop off points, or if you need any leaflets or other material.
THE INFORMATION HELP LINE NUMBER FOR THIS YEAR'S APPEAL IS 0870 011 2002. The website is www.samaritainspurse.uk.com.
~~~~~~~ More about the website ~~~~~~~~
All the information on the site is very clear and gives you precise details abouth the Charity, this Operation, and how to find out more. The links are quick and easy to use. It's a well laid out and easy to navigate site. There is a list of any possible questions you need that can be clicked on. All the important information I have covered in this review is easy to find and understand using the site.
It is very easy to click to make a donation online. The £2.00 figure to cover costs is already input to the field but you can amend this if you want to donate more. There is also a box to tick to gift aid the donation. ("For every pound you give to us, we get an extra 28 pence from the Inland Revenue. To qualify for Gift Aid, you need to be a UK resident and what you pay in income tax or capital gains tax must at least equal the amount we will claim in the tax year")
I had not actually visited the site before becoming aware of Operation Christmas Child through the leaflets I have received from school/church. However, I have found out more information from the site, and the
Pictures of Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child
postcode drop off point finder is useful. It is useful to get more knowledge about the operation from the site and it's a great site for helping people become aware of this campaign. It should make people become more informed of the work of the charity, and therefore more likely to help. I love Operation Christmas child because it is something we can do that is constructive and you can actually see with your own eyes what is being donated, as opposed to throwing money at a cause and then forgetting about it. Somehow the act of preparing the box makes the charity donation seem more real.
Click on the site to see photographs and reports of previous shoe boxes delivered. There is also news of other work, for example "Samaritan's Purse established the therapeutic feeding centre last year to care for the smallest victims of the food shortage that killed thousands in Niger last year", and many other projects. The homepage is split into these categories and under each there is a lot of useful information.: Homepage, About us, News & Resources, Our work, Church matters, Giving. To find out more, I would recommend a visit to the site.
~~~~~~ My experiences and thoughts ~~~~~~~~~~
I've been filling a shoe box with gifts each year now since my child started Nursery where they had a collection point. It's the simplest and most enjoyable thing to put together to help a child far far way. I love collecting those little gifts knowing they are going to a child who will treaure it. A child who will not say, for example, "This isn't what I wanted! I wanted Robo-dino two point zero three variety! And in pink, not blue!"
It's becoming a 'must do' part of my family's Christmas preparations. I find it helps to teach the children about sharing and thinking of those without the great riches we have. I have started to ask them to sort out things they do not play with that another child like them may treasure. (the toys must be new or nearly new). It helps them to become aware of others and teach them that it's not just about themselves. The children like to help pick out colouring books and pencils. If you wish, you can also put in the box a simple greetings card with a picture of yourself/child to make it more personal. I have also put in mittens and scarves that have been knitted by a family member.
This yearly act also helps ground me a little in the frantic preparations of Christmas and help me be thankful for the fact I live in a country of great wealth and I personally, or my family are not suffering or in need of anything at all. It's nice to make a small difference.
Keep this in your mind all year then you can help when you hear about it, maybe collecting a few bits and pieces here and there in plenty of time. Then you will be prepared.
A small act but so meaningful. (My little suming up for the season).
A time for sharing, a time to reflect, Not just those mountains of gifts to collect. A time to reflect on our riches and wealth, Our comfort, our food and our good health, To think for a moment and help give a smile To the face of a child from a far away mile. So fill up a shoe box and deliver some cheer Sharing presents with those far as well as those near.