Operation Christmas Child is an annual charitable giving program that provides millions of children around the world with a Christmas gift: basically, a shoebox filled with necessities and fun things for girls and boys aged 2-4, 5-9, and 10-14 years old. Many churches organize packing parties and donation drives around this project; my goal this year was to donate 10 boxes, and provide a small pile of extra items to a church for their packing party on 5 November.
Samaritan’s Purse has ran Operation Christmas Child since the 1970s. I only heard about it two years ago, when my partner’s mother mentioned the project, and I donated a few shoeboxes to the cause. Since then, I’ve spent the year collecting small toys and necessities after holidays to help my budget while making these shoeboxes. Easter basket toys, for example, are great for shoeboxes. And back-to-school sales pretty much handle all of the learning items. I am also guilty of regifting a pair of socks that are too small for me; as long as they are new, there’s no shame in repurposing items for the shoeboxes.
I also learned that Ivory Soap floats! Who knew? Soap is always needed, and the bar mop cloths and/or Huck Towels are often more durable and just as handy as washcloths for bathing. And they are often cheaper, too.
I could go on and on, but I’m eager to share a little craft that I started this year. I wanted to include a container that would end up being unique to the child. S&S Worldwide (www.ssww.com) is a great site for crafty things, as is Oriental Trading Company, Current, and many others.
I bought a Keepsake Boxes Craft Kit for $30; there are 12 sturdy cardboard boxes in this kit, and they are the perfect size for a shoebox. I had originally hoped to use cigar boxes, but then realized they are large, shallow, and probably not a good symbol to send to a child, right? Unless I covered them, and then that’s a chunk of time I’ve spent on something that still may not be useful. So those went to friends who make cigar box ukeleles (which is also very cool).
The instructions that arrived with the boxes are sort of … bland. We want kids to be excited, right? Right!
I created a PDF that you can download and print. It’s a standard US letter-sized page that creates two labels: CraftBox_label
Once you have printed and trimmed the labels, you just fold it onto the lid of the box, and tape on the inside. Do not tape the actual box, though!
And that’s it! I am going to go finish my boxes now. 🙂