Operation Christmas Child 2019
We’re very much looking forward to our holiday this year, but finding it hard to get down to the actual packing! Anyway, as I pulled out the suitcases from the loft the other day, my eyes fell on something which reminded me that it’s time to start thinking about packing of a different kind – shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child (OCC).
||A total of 219 boxes were collected from Bramhall Methodist Church last year. (This was a great achievement, even if 73 of these were from organisations outside BMC) They contributed towards a total of over 511,200 gift-filled shoeboxes from the UK – part of a global total of 10.6 million, distributed by the Samaritan’s Purse charity to hurting children in over a hundred countries.
Assuming that people may wish to donate a filled shoebox again this year, I have offered to co-ordinate the process from BMC. I will be selling some small items for people to include in the boxes as well as the flat-packed boxes (at a cost of 80p), in the Welcome area after the 10.00am Sunday morning services. These boxes are doubly beneficial in that a) they do not need covering and b) they will pack into the large boxes at the warehouse more easily. (You may, of course, cover a shoe-box yourself, but please note the lid and box must be wrapped separately.)
I propose to start selling on four Sundays, starting on Sunday 13th October. For various reasons, I have had to set the final date for collection of the boxes as Sunday 10th November 2019. (I will not be selling on that Sunday.)
Please note I will not be able to collect any boxes after that date. If you miss the deadline, there will probably be a drop-off point in the area, for individual donations.
In order for the boxes to be accepted for transportation to other countries, their contents have to be checked to ensure they do not contain any prohibited items. These instructions are a) to comply with Customs’ requirements of the countries to which the boxes are going, b) to ensure OCC respects the cultural and religious contexts of those communities and c) to ensure the items packed are in a clean and safe condition for the children receiving them.
With this in mind, may I remind you again what can – and can’t – go into the boxes, please?
DO NOT INCLUDE
Used or damaged items; clothing other than hats, caps, gloves or scarves, war-related items such as toy guns, play soldiers or knives; chocolate, sweets or other food items; seeds; aerosols; toothpaste, lotions or liquids of any type including bubbles; medicines; hand-made or knitted stuffed toys (as they don’t bear a CE-label); playing cards of the 4-suit variety; anything of a political, racial or religious nature; sharp objects; glass containers or fragile items; books with mainly words.
Any items from this list, found when the boxes are checked will be removed from the shoeboxes. See
The charity’s website emphasises that items must be new, unused and undamaged.
Additionally, the website also makes the following suggestions for suitable items to include.
Something with a ‘WOW!’ factor, i.e. items that children will immediately embrace, such as dolls or stuffed toys (which must be new and must bear a CE label), toy trucks, deflated football with pump, musical instrument, ball, yo-yo, skipping rope, small puzzles etc.
I know some people may wish to hand-knit or craft items for packing, so here is the link to some knitting patterns (hats, scarves, gloves, finger-puppets, etc.) on the Samaritan’s Purse website https://www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/operation-christmas-child-knitting/. I will print off some patterns which will be available from early October.
Pens, pencils & sharpeners, crayons or felt pens, stamps & ink-pad sets, writing-pads or notebooks & paper, solar calculators, colouring & picture books.
Toothbrush (NOT toothpaste), bars of wrapped soap, comb or hairbrush, flannel.
Hat, cap, gloves or scarf (no socks, please), hair accessories, jewellery set, sunglasses, wind-up torch, slinky spring.
| If you would prefer to make a financial contribution to this worthwhile appeal, instead of filling a shoe-box, it will be just as gratefully received. The website indicates the increased project and transportation costs of each box is now £5.00, but any contribution would be appreciated. If you could donate on line at https://www.samaritans-purse.org.uk this would make it a lot easier and safer and saves OCC money too. (If you do donate online, there is a link where you can find out which country your shoebox is destined for.
For anyone whose time is limited, again, there is the opportunity to ‘Build a Shoebox online’. You still have an element of choice with the gifts you send, but for a suggested donation of £20 per box, you can have it all done for you, with the option to add a personal letter and/or photo if you wish. For more details, see https://shoeboxonline.samaritanspurse.org.uk/?_ga=2.242413067.808513184.1536946815-408571689.1536946815
A message from Samaritan’s Purse
“Each year millions of precious children experience the joy of a shoebox gift because of kind and thoughtful people like you. Your generosity is touching hearts and transforming lives as children all over the world receive the shoebox gifts you so lovingly pack.
These gifts also enhance the local church’s ability in these countries to share the Good News of Jesus with children, as the local community are truly impacted by the generosity and unconditional nature of the gifts. Our Follow up programme – The Greatest Journey – has equipped thousands of churches to be able to share about Jesus with many of the children who receive a shoebox gift.”
For a more complete, illustrated overview please go to the website - see https://www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/
If you have any queries at all, please do not hesitate to ask.