Americans are encouraged to donate gifts this week to children in need, during Operation Christmas Child. The international campaign, which is the largest Christmas-related project in the world, aims to collect cardboard or plastic shoe boxes filled with gifts, and deliver them to more than 11 million children across the world this year.
The packages can be filled with clothes, toys, school supplies, non-liquid personal care products, crafts, and any other items that a kid might feel happy to receive.
Spearheaded by the Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical Christian humanitarian organization, the project has begun in 1993, with the purpose of helping .those that have been affected by war, natural disasters, disease and poverty.
So far, it has succeeded in bringing a smile on the faces of more than 124 million children across the globe, and its aim is to carry on this mission this year also.
National Collection Week in the United States is currently underway, after starting on November 16, and will continue until November 23, hopefully succeeding in raising around 8 million packages.
There are more than 4,000 drop-off locations available across the country, where those wishing to participate in this campaign can leave their shoe box gifts.
In order to simplify the process of adding presents in the small boxes, donors should first decide if they are preparing a package for a girl or for a boy. Afterwards, they should choose which age category would correspond to their chosen recipient: 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14.
Based on these criteria, they could then start putting items into the shoe box, verging from the most practical (toothbrushes, warm sweaters or notebooks) to the most entertaining (toy cars, dolls, soccer balls, musical instruments etc.)
It would be best to avoid including fragile items (like snow globes or porcelain cups), damaged toys or apparel, objects that promote violence (toy knives or guns), medication or health supplements, expired candy etc.
Samaritan Purse representatives also encourage people to personalize their shoe box by adding a heartfelt note, or even a photograph of themselves or their family. Donors could write down their name and address, so that they can be contacted afterwards by the kid who has received their present.
Moreover, the organization is giving those who are willing to pledge $7 for the Samaritan Purse the possibility to track their presents, and see exactly where they have been delivered.
In return for this small donation, a tracking label with a bar code will be issued, which will then have to be glued on the shoe box. This way, the destination of the package will be identified in advance, and gift makers will get to know the country where their items will be sent.
Among the places where the shoe boxes will be delivered are Barbados, Malawi, Kenya, Burundi, Honduras, Tanzania, Dominican Republic, Lesotho, Trinidad and Tobago etc.
Overall, Operation Christmas Child seems like the ideal way to embrace the spirit of Christmas, which is all about spreading joy, love and goodwill.
Carefully packed shoe boxes could make all the difference for needy children this winter holiday, allowing them to continue to believe in Santa Claus, no matter what difficulties they may be facing.
Image Source: Pixabay