Operation Christmas Child

OperationChristmasChild_FullMonday will begin the collection week for this year’s Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse.

In our church in Florida, I headed the OCC collection.  I cannot tell you what this ministry means to me.  The first time I saw a promotional video about it, I was absolutely overwhelmed.

Here in America, we are so blessed with a wealth of resources for the poorest among us.  Even if a family cannot afford clothing for their children, many churches have clothes closets.  At the start of the school year, every single community has massive school supply drives to make sure all children are equipped with what they need to learn.  At Christmas time, there are Angel Trees, Toys for Tots, and countless other programs to make sure that Christmas is celebrated in every home.

This isn’t the same situation in every country.  The first time I saw an OCC video, I saw the story of a young boy who had on two different shoes – both of them too big, a shirt with a huge hole in it that he wore almost every day, and a pair of tattered shorts talk about the amazing and wonderful gifts he received in his shoebox:  Clean socks, pencils for school, and a toy of his very own.  He was amazed at the generosity and couldn’t wait to go to school and use his new supplies – supplies he would be unable to secure anywhere else.

OCC-shoeboxIf your church is doing an Operation Christmas Child drive, please participate.  The simple act of filling a shoebox with things that we take for such granted here will have a MAJOR and direct impact on a child.  If your church isn’t doing an OCC drive, that’s okay.  You can fill a shoebox or three and deliver them personally to the collection site.  To find the collection site closest to you, click here.

What do you put in the boxes?  First, determine boy or girl, then determine age.  Once you come up with that, you have so many options.  Some ideas from the OCC website are:


small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, small Etch A Sketch®, toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries), Slinky®, etc.

pens, pencils and sharpener, crayons or markers, stamps and ink pad sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.

toothbrush, toothpaste, mild bar soap (in a plastic bag), comb, washcloth, etc.

Hard candy and lollipops (please double bag all candy), mints, gum, T-shirts, socks, ball caps; sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries)

In a separate envelope, you may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. (If you include your name and address, the child may write back.)

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

Don’t have a shoebox?  That’s okay, too!  Stop by your local Family Christian Store – they have them and are ready to hand them out to anyone who needs them.

Once you have a box, print a label found here.  Pray over the box.  Pray for the missionaries who will deliver the box and for child who will receive the box.  Then take it to either your church or a collection point.

Don’t want to put together a shoebox?  That’s okay.  You can just give a donation directly to Operation Christmas Child or Samaritan’s Purse.  There are expenses involved in delivering the shoeboxes.

Can’t donate?  Then pray.  The image below shows the 1,000 Hours of Prayer countdown on the Samaritan’s Purse website.  It’s a screen shot from when I created this post.  Click the picture and it will take you to the site where you can commit to a day and an hour to pray for for this ministry.  Prayer is as important to this ministry as the shoe boxes are.


This is a beautiful ministry.  It’s something my children look forward to doing every year.  It’s my personal goal to take every shoebox that comes across my path in the coming year and fill it for next year’s OCC drive.  (And if you knew my daughter, you’d know that isn’t a small task!  :) )

About Operation Christmas Child
Pack A Shoe Box
Drop-Off Locations
EZ Give Donations
1,000 Hours of Prayer
OCC Impact
Order Materials
Graphic Resources
Beyond the Box
Gifts-in-Kind Program
Regional Reps
Frequently Asked Questions



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