Yesterday, The Forum ran an article about Operation Christmas Child -
This was the first I had heard about this project that delivers shoe boxes of small gifts to less fortunate children all around the world. I was aware of at least a dozen other organizations focused on a similar mission, but not this one. I really enjoyed the article and I decided that this would be a good afternoon project for Cheyenne and me.
Cheyenne has an image of less fortunate children from other countries in her mind’s eye. We watched an Oprah show a year or so ago that featured kids from service organizations that were doing work around the world. The message was that kids are powerful agents of change. There was one particular segment that focused on an extremely poor region in Africa. In particular, Cheyenne has not forgotten those kids and the lack of amenities in their lives (to include a lack of fresh, clean water). I half expect her to volunteer us for a humanitarian mission some summer in the future.
So, this project seemed a nice opportunity for us to do one small thing together in support of children who are not as fortunate as we are. Cheyenne is of the belief that the shoe boxes will go to kids like those she knows of in Africa – kids with virtually nothing. I do not know enough about the recipients of the shoe boxes, but I think her assessment is fair.
We spent a couple of hours out at the local stores searching for items for the shoe boxes. Cheyenne had the list of suggested items and was focused on getting just the right items for the boy and girl we were creating boxes for. We created boxes for one boy and one girl in the 10-14 age range. There are actually three ranges that boxes can be created for: 2-4, 5-9, and 10-14. I suggested we do the oldest age range since Cheyenne is now 10 and because I theorized that older kids are a category likely selected less often.
We stayed away from anything that required batteries, assumed knowledge of English or required technology (no CDs, movies, etc.). We set an original budget of about $20 per box, but despite our keen shopping skills (this is the season for bargains) we went over a bit and ended up closer to $30 on each box (note that there is also an additional cost of $7 per box for shipping). The bigger challenge was in purchasing items that would all fit in an average size shoe box.
Once home, we wrapped the boxes and got them all packed up and labeled (we chose the online version of paying for the shipping so that our shoe boxes could be tracked – see https://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/OCC/EZ_Give_Donations/). Tonight we will work on the letters to go in the boxes and tomorrow we will see to it that they get to Triumph Lutheran Church so that they can begin their journey to wherever they will end up.
This was our first official gift mission of the season and we both agreed at the end of the afternoon that we felt like we were the recipients not the givers…a valuable observation and a gift in-and-of-itself.
If you have some spare time this week (the deadline for drop off is the 23rd), I urge you to take the time to do this with your child or children. I promise you that it will be some of the best time you spend this holiday season and it guarantees that another child somewhere in this world will likewise have a happy moment. What’s not to love about that?
Day one hundred and thirty-five of the new forty – obla di obla da