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Host an Operation Christmas Child Party – It’s Time to Start Planning!

Are you familiar with the shoebox ministry of Operation Christmas Child? You may be wondering what all the fuss over a shoebox is about, so let me take quick moment to fill you in. Since 1993, Samaritan’s Purse has been sharing gifts with boys and girls in over 130 countries. Simple shoeboxes are packed with gifts for children that are delivered to children around the world, along with the message of salvation.

OCC Packing Party Header

It may seem a little bit early to start planning, but collection week for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes is typically around mid-November each year. You all know as well as I do, that time manages to somehow sneak up on you!

In years past our family has hosted Shoebox Packing Parties. We invited a bunch of friends, made some fun crafts, packed a bunch of shoeboxes, learned more about the journey a shoebox takes, and had fun thinking of what the children receiving those boxes would think of them! Our church has also collected supplies and spent a Sunday morning packing shoeboxes to send around the world.

We would love to invite you to do the same! Not sure how to get started? Just follow the steps below:

1. Order your FREE Resources from Samaritan’s Purse

OCC Packing Party Resources

Click over now and order before you forget. There are quite a few different things to help you out, including a dvd, stickers, coloring pages, and more.

2. Pick a Date and Start Planning Your Shoebox Party

Find a date that suits {you may want to pick two depending on the amount of friends you want to invite}, and start making a list of people to invite.

3. Print out Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Party Invitations

Operation Christmas Child invitation

 

We handed out simple postcard sized invitations to invite our friends to our packing party.  Be sure to download a copy of the editable Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Party Invitation to make it a little easier for you!

The blue fields are editable {using Adobe Reader} and then you can print them to hand out. There is room on the back to let your guests know what they need to bring and what you’ll be doing together at the party. {See how we filled out our invitations and what we asked others to bring here.}

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4. Pack Those Shoeboxes and Drop Them Off!

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This hands-on creative idea shared on the Operation Christmas Child Facebook page is one to love. If your family has a plethora of LEGOs, consider adding this idea to your party. Design and build with LEGOs, take a picture, then bag up the LEGOs along with the picture to include in your shoebox. We are definitely adding this in to our packing time!

Get together with your friends, have fun packing those shoeboxes, and then send them off! You can find a local drop-off location here or call  1-800-353-5949 for more information.

 

Additional Links to Get You Started Planning Your Shoebox Party

Here are a few helpful links {all in one place} to get you started planning your party.

Note – Samaritan’s Purse asks that you please not include any of the following items: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out- of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snowglobes or glass containers; aerosol cans.

Have you hosted an Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing party before?

 
Truth in the Tinsel Children's Advent

You Can Still Pack a Shoebox for Operation Christmas Child

Did you want to pack a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child but miss the deadline? There’s still time to pack a shoebox – virtually online!

Operation Christmas Child Pack a Shoebox online

There’s no need to gather supplies at home, Samaritan’s Purse will do it all for you, but you can have some fun deciding what you would like to put in the box. Choose to pack for girl or boy, pick an age range, add essentials and toys, write a note to include in the box and you are ready to send your box! It’s really that simple.

A challenge for you: Can we pack 25 boxes together?

Click here to start packing!

 

Follow a Fellow Blogger to Ecuador

Mary Homegrown Learners Operation Christmas Child

One of my online friends, Mary from Homegrown Learners, will be traveling to Ecuador in just a few short days along with Samaritan’s Purse. She will have the opportunity to pass out shoeboxes to many children and it would be FABULOUS if we all could follow along as she gets a first-hand glimpse into this ministry.

{And I’m sure she would appreciate your prayers as well!}

Follow along on her blog Homegrown Learners or keep an eye on her Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook feeds.

 

But first – will you help pack a shoebox online?

 

OCC-blogger-button Disclosure: I am a member of the iHomeschool Network’s Samaritan’s Purse Blogger Team and voluntarily writing about this ministry. All posts are my own thoughts and do not necessarily reflect the views of Samaritan’s Purse. I am not an employee, agent, or contractor of Samaritan’s Purse.

Results for the $10 Back to School Challenge with Operation Christmas Child

Earlier this month, several bloggers issued a challenge to all of you:

  • Commit to putting $10 toward an Operation Christmas Child shoebox
  • See how far you can s-t-r-e-t-c-h that $10!
  • Take pictures of your goodies and link up with the Samaritan’s Purse Bloggers on August 28th and share with others all the fun stuff you found!

Operation-Christmas-Child-$10-Challenge

 
Did you take the $10 Challenge this past month for Operation Christmas Child and ind some fun things and deals that you want to share with the rest of us? We would LOVE to see what you are planning to put in your shoeboxes for OCC!
 

Our $10 Challenge Results

For the record, trying to stick to a budget and shop with four children giddy about school supplies is enough to drive a momma crazy. Having to re-explain ‘that will NOT fit in a shoebox’ numerous times gets a wee bit tiring. {Not that I attempted to meet the Back to School $10 for Operation Christmas Child with the kids in tow or anything}.
 
Shopping may have been a bit more productive on a night that was a bit more quiet. {Just saying}.
 
While we didn’t hit any major sales {Staples had some great ones earlier in the month}, the things we found were from two main stores: Target and Walmart. Here’s a look at the goodies we found to put inside our shoeboxes later this year. The grand total for all of the supplies was $10.04.
 
Yes, I went a teeny-tiny bit overbudget. By a whopping .04.
 
 
$10 Operation Christmas Child Challenge
 
Pictured above: Colored pens {$1}, addition flashcards {1.00}, lined paper notebook {.50}, coloring book with stickers {.60}, scissors {.50}, crayons {free}, markers {.50}, watercolor paints{.97}, pencils {.50}, calculator {1.00}, sharpener, {.47}, mini-notepads {.50}, dry-erase markers {1.00}, mini-notepads {.50}, and a bouncy ball {1.00}
 
None of our local stores had any gigantic sales going on yet, but we did find the coloring book on clearance. Although there isn’t anything specific to go with the dry erase markers yet, I’m planning to print and laminate a few learning printables and games to put in the shoebox as well.
 
If you need any ideas for either boys or girls, be sure to visit the posts below from Jamie and Amy – they each share 100 ideas to pack in your shoebox.

 

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100 Shoebox Ideas for Girls

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100 Shoebox Ideas for Boys

 

Helpful links about Operation Christmas Child

OCC-blogger-button Disclosure: I am a member of the iHomeschool Network’s Samaritan’s Purse Blogger Team and voluntarily writing about this ministry. All posts are my own thoughts and do not necessarily reflect the views of Samaritan’s Purse. I am not an employee, agent, or contractor of Samaritan’s Purse.

 

Back to School $10 Challenge for Operation Christmas Child

Maybe you’ve noticed that the stores around are packed with “Back to School” supplies. Sales are on and there are so many fun things available to fill our carts with.

Operation-Christmas-Child-$10-Challenge

This year when you check out the stores and sales, join the $10 Back to School Challenge with the Samaritan’s Purse Bloggers. While you are out picking up supplies for your family, think ahead and shop for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. If you time it just right, you can snag some great deals and fill those boxes to overflowing!

Interested in joining in with the $10 Back to School Challenge during the month of August? Here are the specifics:

  • Commit to putting $10 toward an Operation Christmas Child shoebox
  • See how far you can s-t-r-e-t-c-h that $10!
  • Shop, save, and store your shoebox items
  • Take pictures of your goodies and link up with the Samaritan’s Purse Bloggers on August 28th and share with others all the fun stuff you found!

You can check back here on Wednesday, August 28th and link up with all of us. Our family will be headed out shopping too and we’ll share our finds! If you’d like some shoebox ideas other than school supplies, two of my online friends have put together a list of 100 Shoebox Ideas for Girls and Boys. Click on the images below to visit their posts and find ideas for items to include in your boxes.

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100 Shoebox Ideas for Girls

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100 Shoebox Ideas for Boys

Don’t forget some of the following areas: personal hygiene, school supplies, fun toys, building or work tools, yummy treats, clothing, and other special items to treasure. The kids will love anything you include in the boxes. Every little gift matters!

Here are a few helpful links about Operation Christmas Child:

OCC-blogger-button Disclosure: I am a member of the iHomeschool Network’s Samaritan’s Purse Blogger Team and voluntarily writing about this ministry. All posts are my own thoughts and do not necessarily reflect the views of Samaritan’s Purse. I am not an employee, agent, or contractor of Samaritan’s Purse.

 

Jolanthe Signature

100 Shoebox Ideas for Boys and Girls

Stumped or searching for ideas on things to put in your Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and need a little inspiration? Sometimes it just takes a list to get the inspiration flowing!

Two of my online friends have put together a list of 100 Shoebox Ideas for Girls and Boys and are sharing them today on their blogs. Click on the images below to visit their posts and find ideas for items to include in your boxes.

occ-girl-items2

100 Shoebox Ideas for Girls

100-shoebox-items-boy2

100 Shoebox Ideas for Boys

While a box full of candy would be nice, it’s also a good idea to include items from some {or all} of the following areas: personal hygiene, school supplies, fun toys, building or work tools, yummy treats, clothing, and other special items to treasure. The kids will love anything you include in the boxes. Every little gift matters!

National Collection Week varies each year, but is always in November. Not sure where to bring your boxes?  Find a shoebox drop-off location near you.

Here are a few helpful links about Operation Christmas Child

 

OCC-blogger-button Disclosure: I am a member of the iHomeschool Network’s Samaritan’s Purse Blogger Team and voluntarily writing about this ministry. All posts are my own thoughts and do not necessarily reflect the views of Samaritan’s Purse. I am not an employee, agent, or contractor of Samaritan’s Purse.

 

 
Truth in the Tinsel

Packing a Shoebox for Operation Christmas Child

We’ve already had one amazingly fun shoebox packing party for Operation Christmas Child and have one more planned this week with another group of friends. The shoebox packing party was much fun. Around the house we set up four different areas so that we didn’t congest one area of the house, so today I wanted to share a few pictures with you and what we did together.

Decorating the Shoeboxes

You can use any type of a shoebox to pack your gifts {OCC has red and green boxes you can order}. We bought clear Sterlite containers from Walmart for less than $1 apiece.  Our girls helped pre-cut Christmas wrapping paper so everyone could grab a piece and work on it quickly.

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The kids started by lining the clear plastic shoeboxes with some colorful wrapping paper to pretty them up a bit and make them festive.

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Letter Writing Station

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In our living room, we had a place to write letters and color pictures to include the boxes. There was a stack of pre-printed coloring pages for the kids to use and adults to help them read and answer the questions.  These letters are great to tell the children receiving the boxes a little about the person sending them.

Creating Crafts

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The kids took turns making some cute finger puppets {tutorial at Sidetracked Sara} and also some beaded friendship bracelets {the kids designed their own}. You can also find some fun craft ideas to make on the Operation Christmas Child Pinterest Boards.

Packing the Boxes

Once we had our letters written, boxes decorated and crafts finished, the kids stuffed their boxes with all of the fun gifts they had brought. Be sure to wrap a few rubber bands around the boxes when you are done too, just to keep the lids on the boxes!

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This year our family decided to pack boxes for older children {ages 10-14}, since they typically receive the fewest boxes. While choosing toys and gifts for the younger children is easier, we had to think a little more for the older children. Here a few things that we included for the boys and girls:

Girls ages 10-14: fabric, sewing scissors, thread and needles, small reusable plastic containers packed with safety pins, flashlight and batteries, stick deodorant, chapstick, hair accessories, school supplies, toothbrush/toothpaste, washcloths, water bottle, bar soap, and flip flops.

Boys ages 10-14: hammer, tape measure, flashlight and batteries, stick deodorant, socks, school supplies, toothbrush/toothpaste, washcloths, backpack/carry bag, water bottle, bar soap, rope, carabiners, pliers, work gloves, and flip flops.

There are SO many different things that you can pack in a shoebox and share with others. Here’s just a sample list of ideas to use:

You can find complete packing instructions on the OCC website here: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/Pack_A_Shoe_Box/

Praying for the Shoeboxes and Those Receiving Them

Packing the boxes was fun, but at the end we all got together and talked about the journeys that our shoeboxes would take. The boxes were all piled in the middle of our living room and prayed for the children and families that would be receiving the boxes – praying that the things we included would bring joy to the children who opened them and bless the families, but most importantly that they would know the love of Jesus through our simple gift.s

For next year’s party…

I’m already making plans for NEXT year’s packing party and thinking of improvements to make to our process. Here’s what I’d like to do next year:

  • Provide as much as I can for the shoeboxes, so families can bring ‘key’ items to add. I’ve already managed to hit the clearance aisles of CVS and another store, finding some collapsible water bottles for a quarter each. Throughout the year I’d love to stock up on filler items {school supplies, etc…}for the boxes so that kids attending the party can use them to stuff their boxes full of goodies.
  • Hunt for more great craft ideas! Our girls have had a lot of fun working on extras to put in the shoeboxes, but we can also work on crafts all year long in preparation for next year – sewing, knitting, etc…
  • Ask other moms to help me search for goodies {the more we can find, the better!}

If you have any helpful ideas for a packing party, please leave a comment and let me know!!

Links to Get You Started Planning Your Shoebox Party

Here are a few helpful links {all in one place} to get you started planning your party.

 

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100 Shoebox Ideas for Girls

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100 Shoebox Ideas for Boys

If you are blogging and sharing about Operation Christmas Child, be sure to link up below with us:

 

OCC-blogger-buttonDisclosure: I am a member of the iHomeschool Network’s Samaritan’s Purse Blogger Team and voluntarily writing about this ministry. All posts are my own thoughts and do not necessarily reflect the views of Samaritan’s Purse. I am not an employee, agent, or contractor of Samaritan’s Purse.

 

Jolanthe Signature

 
Truth in the Tinsel