This post was originally published in 2008 and reran in 2010. I’m re-posting it because the message hasn’t changed: There are still children across the world that don’t know what it’s like to be the recipient of a Christmas gift.Â
Today, I had the pleasure of hearing one of Operation Christmas Child’s full-time volunteers speak about what it’s like to be the one to give out the boxes: To see the children’s faces as they open these presents. He spoke of one drop off that didn’t go so well. They were told there would be 200-some children. They brought 400 boxes. 700 children showed up. You do the math. I wouldn’t want to be the person to have to look at 300 little faces and say how sorry I was that there weren’t any more boxes. The volunteer asked everyone to give one more box this year. One more than you gave the year before. If you’ve never given, try it this year. It’s fun to fill a box with items you know will make a child smile.
The 2011 collection dates are November 14-21. Find a location near you by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.Â
Last year I participated in “Operation Christmas Child,” a program that gives gifts to children in need around the world. It was a wonderful, and easy, program in which to participate. Who doesn’t love giving to a child? Seeing his or her eyes light up when he or she opens the box. That’s the gift for the giver.
Although you don’t get to see the recipient directly, you can imagine a child in another country opening a shoebox full of candies, crayons, books and maybe a teddy bear or stuffed animal. Toys they’ve never seen before. Many of the children who receive one of these special boxes may have never received a Christmas present before.
My family packed one box for a pre-school age girl and one for a boy last year. We’ll do the same this year. I’ll get my son involved this year to pick out the small gifts to go inside the box, we’ll pack it together and take it to our local drop off location.
National collection week is November 17-24 (editor’s note: the 2011 collection dates are November 14-21) where all the boxes will be picked up from the local drop off locations, hauled in trucks and then sent to the countries so the children can receive the presents in time for the holiday.
It’s a great family project and you’ll feel great about giving.
- Pack a shoebox.
- Find a drop off location near you.
- Donate online.
- Read what former President Clinton says about Operation Christmas Child.
- Find a gift for the person who has everything.