The aim of this appeal is to bring joy to millions of needy children around the world in gift-filled shoe-boxes collected from UK donors. Every US president since Ronald Regan has packed a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child and last year over a million shoeboxes were delivered by this remarkable group to children all over the world.
The children may be poor, in hospital, in orphanages or homeless shelters, in impoverished neighbourhoods, poor countries or refugee camps. These children would not normally get to enjoy that special tingle of festive excitement from receiving a gift brought especially for them but for this remarkable Charity.
The gift-filled shoeboxes are checked by volunteers at the charity’s warehouses throughout the country before being transported to Kosova, Romania, Belarus, Mozambique and Serbia.
Often families, groups, schools, businesses and churches will get together to encourage people to fill their gift shoe-box. Some will fill their boxes with toys their own children have grown out of. Others will buy gifts especially. For schools that are participating, this scheme helps children to become more socially aware, to develop a sense of conscience and responsibility and to reflect on spiritual, moral, social and cultural issues.
Few could turn down the idea of being able to do something special for a needy child to keep the magic of giving alive, and make a difference to someone else’s Christmas.
To participate, choose a medium sized shoe box (approximately 18 x 30 x 13 cm). Cover with some Christmas wrapping. Wrap the lid and box separately. Consider whether you’re gifting a girl or a boy and mark the box accordingly. Fill the box with gifts. Do not wrap any of the gifts individually.
Gift Item Ideas for a Girl
Bar of wrapped soap, sponge, hat, gloves and scarf, small doll, hair bands, scrunchies, hair brush and comb, soft toy, finger puppet, jigsaw, pencil case and pencils, colouring book, notepad, toothbrush.
Gift Item Ideas for a Boy
Small car, truck or farmyard animals, teddy bear, finger puppet, yo-yo, small musical instrument, gloves, hat, scarf, balloons, pencils, pencil sharpener, puzzle book, notepad, toothbrush, comb.
Knitting patterns for clown and teddy bear hand puppets and hats can be found on the Operation Christmas Child website.
This year OCC’s campaign dates are between 1st and 18th November. Groups with up to 50 boxes will be able to take them to drop off points which can be found here.
Further information and promotioan materials can be obtained from the Operation Christmas Child’s website.