Operation Christmas Child<?xml:namespace prefix =” o” ns =” “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”” />
So Christmas is just around the corner and the majority of us are beginning to get into the Christmas spirit. Music channels such as Bliss are playing the Chrimbo tunes, some people are beginning to trim up (though, in my opinion it is far too early) and shops are flooding with seasonal goods. But have you stopped to think for a moment about the minority who may not even know its Christmas? Believe it or not, some kids will be getting nothing this Christmas. They are in a third world country and don’t have the luxuries or essentials that we lucky people have. Sad isn’t it? If only someone could help…
Well, there is someone and that person is reading these very words right now. Yes, I’m talking about you. You can make a difference. And how can you do that? Well, you can easily help via a very thoughtful and giving charity – Operation Christmas Child which is run by the Christian charity, Samaritan’s Purse. Now before you say or think anything, don’t worry, you don’t have to be a Christian or of any specific religion to participate in helping. What is Operation Christmas Child, then? Well, OCC (yes, I’m shortening it)is the world’s largest children’s Christmas project who have been sending gift-filled shoe-boxes around the world since 1990 and making a child’s Christmas so much better for over 80 million unprivileged children. The shoe-boxes get sent to disadvantaged children in places such as Africa, Eastern Europe and <?xml:namespace prefix =” st1″ ns =” “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”” />Central Asia.
How do you send a shoe-box? Well, it’s pretty easy. All you have to do is pack it full of little luxuries/essentials and wrap it in some nice wrapping paper before sending it off where OCC check through it (in case some items are not suitable, such as something that maybe sharp or they could choke on) and then send it off. Then, their in-country partners deliver your shoe-boxes to the children. It’s really simple, isn’t it? And with the marvellous technology we have these days there are now two ways you can send these shoe-boxes. The first way is by doing it by hand. The second way is the new fancy way of doing it through the computer by packing it online via the new Shoebox World website. Personally, I like doing it by hand as you feel as if you’ve helped by putting the work into it and you also get that Christmasy feeling, but obviously, you can do it whichever way you want.
How to make the shoe-box gift:-
1.Find an empty shoe-box. Ideally, the shoebox should be a medium size (18cm x 30cm x 13cm). Wrap the lid and box separately in wrapping paper (before putting your gifts in).
2.Decide whether it is for a boy or girl. You can download the stickers from the OCC website. Tick the box of the right age group your box is appropriate for. Place the sticker on the lid (top right) and make sure it is secure.
3.Fill the box. Here are some things you can and can’t put in it:-
Toys: Things like teddies, soft toys, tennis balls, jigsaws, dolls, clip on earrings, toy trucks and cars,etc.
Educational Items: This can be things such as felt pens, notepads, pencils, rulers, anything you’d have in your pencil case (though I don’t think glue, scissors, staplers and things like those are allowed so I wouldn’t advise you to give them)
Toiletries: So things such as flannels, soap, hair clips, toothbrush, toothpaste,etc.
Other items: Sweets (providing their sell-by date is at least March of next year), Hats, Scarves, Gloves, hats, bracelets, necklaces, sunglasses and all that
Things that CANNOT be given are:-
No food- chocolate especially, though non chocolate sweets are allowed
No vitamins or medicines
No war related items (toy guns, soldiers, knives,etc.)
No clothing (except for what is listed above)
No fragile items (like mirrors, glass,etc.)
No liquids (blow bubbles, shampoos, toiletry sets, aerosols,etc.)
No dangerous items (Scissors, razors and other sharp objects)
Nothing of a political nature
No hand-knitted toys without the CE mark
4.Make your donation. The suggestion is £2.50 per donation box. This ensures that the shoebox can then go where it needs to go. If you can, please donate online. This way, OCC can tell you where your shoe-box went. If not, complete the donation slip from the downloaded OCC leaflet, enclose a cash or cheque donation, and then place the payment/slip in your shoebox on top of the contents.
5.Drop your shoebox off. Ensure your shoebox is secured with a rubber band around the outside and then drop it off at your nearest drop off point (you can find this out online)
By making a shoe-box present for someone less fortunate, you could really brighten up their Christmas. So why not give it a go? Just think how happy and thankful they will be.
For more information, visit http://www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk/