The week of November 18 marks National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child, also referred to as the shoebox ministry. The process of preparing a shoebox, or any other type of box, is simple and inexpensive, the average cost being approximately 10 dollars, not including the donation. First choose whether your box will be for a boy or girl. Then, you must decide on the age group. The available age groups are: 2-4, 4-9, and 10-14.

After you have made your decision, print the label found on the website and check the boxes accordingly. Things that you may consider including might be: a seven dollar donation to pay for shipping costs, toys-with extra batteries if necessary, hygiene products, school supplies, accessories such as jewelry, sunglasses, a t-shirt and even a personal note from you to the child who receives your box. A full list of recommended items can be found online, as well as a list of things to avoid in your shoebox.

Boxes are sent to the drop-off centers, the locations of which can be found online. The boxes are then taken to Processing Centers where they are inspected by either year-round or Collection Week volunteers. Once approved, they are shipped overseas to be presented to the children. Once a shoebox is given to a child, he or she has the opportunity to participate in The Greatest Journey, a ministry in which children participate in a discipleship program spanning 12 weeks. The purpose of The Greatest Journey is to introduce the children to salvation and encourage them to grow in Christ.

Operation Christmas Child was started by Samaritan’s Purse in 1993. Since then, more than 100 million children residing in over 130 countries have received a shoebox. Shoeboxes can be given through a church organization, by a family, by a school, by a team or club, by a workplace, by an individual or even online. Operation Christmas Child accepts boxes year-round.

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