DISCLAIMER: I struggled on whether or not I was going to post this because I am funny about giving and putting what I do with the kids in the spotlight. The same grandmother I mentioned earlier this week who taught me the phrase “kill ’em with kindness” also taught me that “the best donor is an anonymous donor.” I am not sharing this with you today because I want you to think I am super mom and just love to share all of the amazing things I am doing with my children. I lose it far too often and have a case of the crabbies far too much to try to claim that title. I’m sharing this with you because 1) I adore this ministry and 2) I really want you to consider participating.
Operation Christmas Child (OCC) is the PERFECT way for everyone to give during the holiday season, but I have to admit that it is particularly perfect for the elderly and young children.
In a nutshell, OCC is part of Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian philanthropic organization dedicated to sharing the love of Christ with the children of the world. Each year, they ask for shoe boxes to be filled with small toys, socks, underpants, toiletry items, books, crayons, etc. for a child in a Third World country that would otherwise not receive any gifts during this time of the year. In addition, Samaritan’s Purse provides materials in their native language that shares the gospel. Many children have come to Christ through the love transported in these boxes.
Samaritan’s Purse offers the choice to fill for a boy or a girl and the ages are broken down into 2-4 years old, 5-9 years old and 10-14 years old. Our children choose to fill a box for a child that matches their gender and age. For example, Susannah will fill for a little girl in the 5-9 year old range and the boys will pack a box for a boy in the 2-4 year old range.
Luckily, our church is very active in this ministry as well so the Snapp kids hear about OCC during Sunday school and American Heritage Girls (for Susannah). No worries if your church doesn’t participate (but I would encourage you to pray about starting one!). You can still do OCC with your children and do it well!
We start out by talking about “when much is given to us, we are responsible for much”. I share 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 but there are many good ones to use as well. Click here for some good verses on giving to the poor.
Next, I show this OCC Veggie Tales clip from You Tube and we love it. It generates great discussions – Sawyer wanted to know why an elephant would carry the boxes to the children and Susannah was dumbfounded by the fact that many of these children had never received a gift.
Sometimes we look on a map at the various countries our boxes may go, sometimes not. We didn’t this year. I think someone knocked over a box of cereal and it cut our lesson short. Shocking, I know.
Next, we shop for our boxes and I stress before we go into the store that we will not be purchasing ONE THING that is for anyone else. This trip is only for our OCC kids (though I did sneak in a gallon of milk.). When you get to the toy aisle, you will be so thankful you had this conversation because very likely, it will keep your little people cool and calm (somewhat) as they are drooling over all of those enticing toys.
Of course, the next step is to pack your boxes.
We then include a photo of our family on the top and put the lid on the box held securely with a rubber band. We don’t always wrap our boxes though I know many people do.
If you are paying for the shipping by check ($7.00), you will be asked to place the check on the top of the box as well. However, we like to pay for our shipping at the Samaritan’s Purse website because 1) it’s just easier and 2) YOU CAN TRACK YOUR BOXES. YES, YOU CAN.
Can you say “Geography Lesson”? Remember that map we talked about earlier?
Lastly, we take our boxes with us to church on Sunday – please note that collection week is next week! Click here to find a collection site near you.
I didn’t think I was going to go in this direction, but my former elementary teachin’ self just can’t help it. Think of the homeschooling-type stuff you could do with your little ones regardless of whether or not you school your children at home:
* Geography – Mark where your box traveled.
* Math – Calculate how far away this country is from your map for older children and simply count the number of items in a box for youngers.
* Language Arts: Write letters to the child who will receive your boxes. What do you want to tell him or her? Read books about giving and the specific country where your box landed.
* Social Studies: What are the people in this country like? How do they survive? What is the climate? What do they do for fun? What time is it there right now? (That’s kind of math, too.)
See why I can’t teach AND be a mom at the same time? My brain just goes on overload of the wonderful things that can be done with little minds and then I lose balance. I love thematic instruction.
For more information on Operation Christmas Child, please visit Samaritan’s Purse.
Great post! I’m right there with you about the learning opportunities that this ministry provides, and I love your ideas for incorporating this activity into a school curriculum. Plus, it’s just plain fun! I think my kids like it so much because it feels so “real” to them. Each one takes great pride in picking out the things his or her child would like, and it’s cool to think that the very box they hold in their hands will be opened by a child halfway around the world in just a few short weeks. Last year, we did the online tracking and found out that our boxes went to Ghana!
Great post my friend! It is important that we teach these lessons to our children. Thanks for stepping out of your comfort zone & encouraging others to do so!
.-= Alicia The Snowflake´s last blog ..The Condition of Our Heart =-.
we do that with our kids too! LOVE it. we also ring the bell in front of Walmart.. since Brigham was in a stroller.. even in the fridgid temps! LOL(we take small breaks to get warm) but seriously.. to be cold for an hour?? gives a teachable moment that some people ‘live’ outside and are very cold.. with out heavy coats and 5 different hats and gloves. We also adopt a family and my kids (mostly Brigham) loves to shop and choose what he thinks they will like. surprisingly.. they don’t do their normal ‘i wants” during this trip , thankfully their heart is (at least this trip) in the right place! love your pictures. thank you for instilling and modeling Jesus’ love .
.-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..We met the Mouse! =-.
This reminds me of the time when our two families collected and cleaned gently-used toys/games/clothing to donate to a family in need.
Teerust me…the clothing (especially for the little girl) was in excellent condition and we divided/boxed/wrapped according to size/age, etc. In addition, we provided all the “makings for a Christmas Dinner.”
All of us loaded into the big brown van and once we were close to the home of destination, you children were told to get on the floor of the van and not show yourselves until we had delivered our parcels and pulled away. (We had no desire to embarrass or humiliate possible classmates.)
Several of us placed the wrapped gifts underneath the tree and left the Holiday Meal in the kitchen and then all of us were on our way.
And so, your wonderful grandmother’s wisdom prevailed…..
“The best donor is an anonymous donor.” Amen.
Just finished buying stuff for our 4 boxes tonight! It is good to share what you’re doing…if someone hadn’t shared this info with me a few years ago, I would have missed out on this awesome ministry opportunity. Can’t wait to track our boxes and share this info with the kids!