It’s nice to take a little time out of our busy days and remember what this (CRAZY) Christmas season is all about and that’s just what we did this week with Operation Christmas Child.
Photo courtesy of smaritanspurse.org
If you are not familiar with this heart-warming cause, Operation Christmas Child was started in 1993 and has since delivered over 100 million donated shoeboxes filled with toys and much needed items to children in over 130 different countries that would otherwise not have a Christmas. Operation Christmas Child is backed by Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian organization started over 40 years ago that “provides spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world.”
We were lucky enough to spend our day at the packaging center in Atlanta, sorting through boxes, assigning them a gender and age group, and then organizing them into larger boxes to be delivered across the world. The Atlanta processing center is just one of 9 across the country. The number of carefully packed shoeboxes that will pass through this center in 2013 alone is an astounding 1.5 MILLION!
These boxes were filled with toothbrushes, soaps, dolls, stuffed animals, balls, clothes, coloring supplies and just about every toy you can think of! We were working along side volunteers young and old who have traveled across the country to lend a hand in Atlanta.
Our job for the day was to make sure that all of the toys were safe and that no food (except candy), liquids, seeds, items depicting violence or breakables were tucked inside the boxes.
The best part of the boxes were the hand written notes! So many people (especially children) wrote letters to the child who would be receiving their gift. It was touching to read the sweet words of encouragement and faith!
It was truly an honor to help inspect and pack these shoeboxes that were going to be such a blessing to each child around the world who would receive one. The boxes we packed were being shipped to The Dominican Republic.
Photo courtesy of samaritanspurse.org
If you are interested in learning more about Operation Christmas Child or how you can help this worthy cause, visit their website! There is still an opportunity to put together a virtual box online that allows you to select a gender, age and all of the gifts that will go inside! You can even include a personalized note and track your package to see which country your gift will end up!
If you do send a shoebox now or in the future, here are a few clever ideas we learned from inspecting hundreds of boxes:
wash cloths and soap
toothbrushes and toothpaste
flashlights (don’t forget the batteries)
collapsable water bottle
screws/nails and small hammer
coloring books and crayons/markers
small toys of any kind
We are very thankful we got to spend the day as a team working for these kids! Do you have a favorite charity or group you’d like to volunteer with during the holidays or any time of year? We’d love to hear about it!
Happy Holidays from the team at Kandrac & Kole Interior Designs!
Kelly, Joann, Lauren and Amy