Monday, 2 December 2013

#Christmas - the shoeboxes

One of my favourite parts of the build up to Christmas is preparing the shoeboxes.

For many years we've filled two shoeboxes each November for Operation Christmas Child - 'the world's largest children's Christmas project'. I'm sure many of you have done the same; you wrap a medium-sized shoebox and fill it with gifts for a child of a certain age (there are guidelines for suggested gifts, which include many practical items such as toothbrushes and soap as well as toys and clothes). The charity who run the project, Samaritan's Purse, then distribute the boxes around the world "...to children based on need, regardless of their background or religious beliefs. It's an unconditional gift of love."

Finished shoeboxes ready to go, one for a girl, one for a boy.

It's not only the children receiving the boxes that benefit; my own kids have gained so much from making the boxes. They put a lot of thought into selecting the gifts each year, and imagining the child who will open their box. It puts the consumer madness of a UK Christmas into perspective when you are enfolding a simple bar of soap into a soft flannel for an unknown child - an item that we would consider a basic of everyday life but that might be a real luxury for the recipient.



This year we were late in completing our boxes and missed the deadline for getting them to Son's school for collection. Luckily all was not lost and we were able to take our boxes to the depot in Melksham where they get sorted and set off on their journey. The volunteers kindly gave us a sneaky peak behind the scenes.


Boxes being sorted by a team of volunteers. Can you spot ours?
Shoeboxes about to be boxed and palleted.

An amazing 20,000 shoeboxes have set off from Melksham so far, which covers the SN, SP and BA postcodes, and most of them have gone to Bosnia. It's also good to see from the Samaritan's Purse website that boxes have regularly been distributed in the Philippines for many years and that the charity has been very actively involved in the aid effort there after Typhoon Haiyan, "Even though the situation in the Philippines may no longer be making the ‘news headlines’, Samaritan’s Purse is continuing its work to bring relief and provide aid to those in desperate need of water, food, hygiene and medical supplies."

Lastly, it may be too late to prepare a real shoebox for this year, but you can still pack a shoebox online! Click here.

10 comments:

  1. I've done this every year until this year when the deadline passed us by. Thanks for the link to the online one.

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    1. We almost didn't get round to it, probably for the same reasons as you, but just got onto it in the nick of time.

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  2. Nice to see the cats are helping too :) I have been contributing to the Wishing Tree here in Australia for a few years now, which is similar. You buy a gift and then place it under the tree with a tag saying whether it's for a boy or girl and the age.

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    1. I can tell the kittens are going to enjoy all the Christmassy stuff! We got the Christmas decorations down from the loft at the weekend and they've been busy inspecting them. I bet they can't wait until we put them up!

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  3. I went to the link to build a box online and it's for Britain. I'll have to look for one in the US. I love the picture of the kitten. I was going through some pictures the other day and found some of our first cat, Samantha when she was a kitten. She was black and white and looked very similar to yours.

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    1. I think they're an international charity so check out their website.

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  4. My 84 year old Mum knitted 13 little teddybears with hand stiched features for shoebox christmas gifts. Not being so crafty i donated money for postage to overseas and so in total 50 boxes were sent by our small town church. Great Effort by Everyone.

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  5. its a real shame but ive tried 3x to buy a shoe box online but there is a message comes up with server error?

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  6. I love this charity - I even got a thank you letter back off a mum in Armenia thanking me for one of my boxes. That was the only time I received a reply I was so touched!

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