There is a year-round charity that sends “shoe boxes” full of items for under privileged children throughout the world. Operation Christmas Child is just one charitable endeavor of Samaritan’s Purse International Relief. They ask donors to use a cardboard or plastic shoe box to put supplies in, and to enclose at least $7 per box to cover the cost of shipping the box. Checks should be made payable to “Samaritan’s Purse” and write “OCC” for Operation Christmas Child on the memo line. Pre-printed boxes are also available for purchase. Please mark the box as to boy or girl, and which age group the gift is for. The age categories are 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.
In 2010 over 8.17 million shoe boxes were sent to needy children in many countries, of which 5.5 million boxes came from the United States. Since 1993 they have shipped shoe boxes to over 130 countries.
They recommend the follow items but everything must be small enough to fit in the shoe box:
- Toys – Cars, balls, dolls, and small toys
- School Supplies - Pens, pencils and sharpener, crayons, markers, stamps with ink pads, paper, solar calculators, coloring or reading books
- Hygiene Items – Toothbrush, toothpaste, mild bar soap, comb, washcloth
- Clothing – T-shirts, socks, baseball caps
- Candy – Hard candy or lollipops (individually wrapped), mints, gum
- Miscellaneous - Sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries!)
What not to include
Used or damaged items, chocolate or food, out-of-date candy, medications or vitamins, breakable items, knives, aerosol cans, military figures or war-related items such as toy guns.
Personal note to child
Feel free to write a note to the child, or enclose a picture of yourself or your family, and put in a separate envelope with your name and address.
For drop-off locations call 1-800-353-5949. You can mail your shoe box to: Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child, 801 Bamboo Road, Boone, NC 28607.