Friday, September 6, 2013

Operation Christmas Child

It's that time of the year again.  Time to consider packing Christmas presents for children who will not get one, time to help your kids be generous to others and time to send an Operation Christmas Child box to a developing nation.

Here are some tips I have gathered over the years:
  • See if you can get boxes with the lids still attached, so much easier to keep all together.  Keep an eye out for shoe boxes that enter your house throughout the year.
  • Wrap the boxes in Christmas paper and then contact them.  The contact makes it look great, the box is sturdier and paper does not rip.  You can even contact the label on top, making sure it is very secure.   
  • Pay your donation for the box shipping cost online ($9 per box), before contacting your box (if possible) - then you print out individual bar-coded labels for each box to stick on the lid.  In a few months, you'll find out where your box went.
  • Take a list with you when you go shopping.  This list was prepared by a member of our church who works in the box processing centre, so she really knows what works and what doesn't.
  • Remove all packaging from every item.  Including a pencil case makes this much easier - put all the pens, pencils, erasers, etc in the pencil case.  There is no rubbish collection in rural villages - imagine how much plastic rubbish you would add if you kept all the packaging on.
  • Include a folded up bag (like an envirobag from the supermarket) or a string bag so that all the treasures in the box can still be kept together when the box disintegrates.
  • Put in a photo of yourself or your family, so the child has an idea of who gave them the gift - this makes it personal.
  • Put an elastic band around the whole box to keep it secure.
  • Drop it off to a collection centre by the end of October. 

All the things ready to go in the boxes.

All packed up and ready to go.

Three cheerful givers

We started doing these boxes regularly 4 years ago (look how much everyone has grown!).  It's a good activity for Term 3.  You might consider getting involved for these reasons:
  • It teaches generosity to your children (and to you!)
  • It's fun shopping for kids who you know have very little (much more fun than shopping for kids with everything)
  • If you like Christmas, it makes it feel that little bit closer
  • If you don't like Christmas, you at least help a child like it!


Unknown said...

Thanks for the tips Wendy. I am going to get each of my children to fill a box. Its one of our 'projects' for the school holidays.


PS. I have started reading Jim Burns book on Confident Parenting on your recommendation. It is really good and so helpful.

Meredith said...

Here's another tip. We have a lady at church who sews us drawstring bags out of calico or whatever fabric she has in her stash, big enough to hold everything and fit in the box, so that in time to come when the box deteriorates, the child still has a bag to carry all their treasures in.

Wendy said...

Thanks Meredith - you are right, I forgot to say that! I add an envirobag that is small from the supermarket to hold it all in. (no-one sews me bags!) I'll add it to the post. Wendy