if you’re looking for small toys that travel well, kids socks or winter hats and gloves, those items may a little harder to find this time of year.

It’s shoebox packing time for Operation Christmas Child! Shoppers are out in droves finding those perfect small gifts to pack in their boxes.

Operation Christmas Child is a ministry started 25 years ago by Samaritan’s Purse. The initiative offers participants the opportunity to pack a shoebox-sized box (or boxes) with small gifts for boys and girls, in age groups 2-4, 5-9 and 10-14 years old. The boxes are sent to kids in foreign countries who may not otherwise receive a Christmas present.

Shoebox senders may pay the $9 shipping fee by check or cash packed in each box, or go to the Samaritan’s Purse website, pay online and track the box, and ultimately find out where their box was sent.

The website also has detailed information on items that can and cannot be packed in the boxes. For example, they can no longer accept candy and toothpaste, due to current customs regulations. That seems to take some of the fun out of it, but rules are rules and they want to be able to send presents to as many kids as possible.

Individuals interested in organizing a shoebox event with their church or civic group can get involved. Churches can also serve as collection centers.

National Collection week for the project runs November 12-19, so there’s still time to pack a box! Find a church in your area that’s participating, or request materials online, find out the best things to pack, pay for shipping, pack the box and drop it off. It’s that simple.

There are also opportunities to volunteer with Operation Christmas Child — through leadership, administrative support, church relations, community relations, logistics, media support, Prayer mobilization and more. See the Operation Christmas Child site for more information on all of the volunteer opportunities.

 

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