Operation Christmas Child is a project run by Samaritan’s purse, an international relief and development organisation who work through churches in 18 different countries. Every Christmas they sent out millions of shoe boxes full of gifts to less fortunate children in other countries across Africa and Europe.
Having done this every year for as long as I can remember, making up shoe boxes is one of my favourite Christmas traditions. Considering I spend a small fortune on friends, family and myself at this time of year, it’s so humbling to think how much a shoe box of small gifts means to a child who won’t get any other presents. Click here to watch the journey of a shoe box, from leaving the warehouse to reaching a child.
There are 5 easy steps to packing a shoe box:
1. Find an empty, medium sized shoe box (an excuse to buy those winter boots you’ve been lusting after!). Wrap box and lid separately in wrapping paper. A big thank you to the kind ladies at Linzi’s shoes in Romford for giving me some of their empty boxes!
2. Decide on whether you want to send to a girl or boy, and what age group - 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14 years. Print off a sticker from the Operation Christmas Child website here and stick it on the top of your box. Tick which age group you have chosen.
3. Full your shoe box with new gifts. As a rough guide, one of each of these:
Toys (cuddlies, cars, dolls, balls etc)
Education items (colouring books, pens, colouring pencils etc)
Hygiene items (flannels, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush etc)
Other: scarfs, gloves, sweets etc (dated at least until end of March next year, and no chocolate allowed!)
Click here for a full lists of DO’s and DON’TS to put in your box. Make sure you read this before you buy anything for your box!
4. Make a donation. £3 covers the shipping cost of your box. If you donate online, they can track your shoe box and tell you where it’s going.
5. Take your shoe box to your nearest drop off point. Click here to use the online locator.
If you have a spare evening, you can also volunteer at your local warehouse or checking centre. Every shoe box needs to be checked that the contents are correct, and sent off to the right places. Many people come in groups or bring friends and family to help out, and it’s amazing to see how many shoe boxes are brought in! Contact your Regional Manager here to find your nearest checking centre.
Each of my family members packed a box this year for a different age group – mine was for a girl aged 5-9 years.
Colouring book and plain exercise book
Colouring pencils, crayons and sharpener
Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Soap and flannel
There’s only 6 days left to drop your shoe boxes off, but warehouses are open longer until the end of November. Please help make a child’s Christmas extra special this year, and use the hashtag #OperationBlogger to spread the word!