Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes: Giving Challenge

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All month long, I’ll be sharing giving ideas and causes as part of The 30-Day Giving Challenge. The following is a guest post from my dear friend Sarah Pinnix.

It’s just a little shoebox. You probably have one in the back of your closet. But simple gifts that you put inside that shoebox can change the world… or the life of ONE of God’s children who need Him. But equally as majestic, is how it changes us.
This year, we packed three shoeboxes, one for each of my three girls. We went out for a special shopping trip, but made lists first! Sometimes, when we go an a whim, I hear, “Hey, mom! We need to get one of these 1000- packs of Silly Bands and a bottle of lotion!” “Um… no, we can’t pack liquids and lotions. And the Silly Bands? Well… no one needs that many Silly Bands”

So we made a list of things a child who has literally nothing Shopping for OCCmight need. We prayed about a few special items to include in the box. It was a profound experience for the kids to pray for a specific person whom they had never met. Learning to forget about ourselves and give to others is one of the most important lessons I can teach my kids. I love to set aside a special shopping trip where they get nothing for themselves, only shopping for the purpose of giving.

And inevitably, during the shopping trip, they were tempted to buy things for themselves. My 7 year old innately asks, “Mom, can I have one of those too?” “No, sweetie, we’re here to buy for others.” “But… *Sigh* OK.” My nine year old, who has been doing these trips for years, is really starting to “get it.” My heart lifted when she explained to the younger sisters why we’re giving.
As they sat around the kitchen table, writing letters to their Christmas Child, I fell in love with each of my girls all over again. Little Pea even drew a “Princess Alien with Static Hair” for her child! She worked meticulously on it, while the older sisters wrote words. We are planning to share our Shoebox Packing on Shoe Tube (www.occshoetube.com) this year. YES! YouTube for Shoeboxes!

Operation Christmas Child LettersOperation Christmas Child Letter

Last year, we brought OCC into the Blogosphere with a Linky Carnival, and I plan to do the same thing again this year. Bloggers at the Blissdom Conference in 2010 brought all kinds of items and we did a funny “man on the street” video for OCC at the conference!

If you’re looking for a simple way to give to a needy child, look into Operation Christmas Child. Check their website at www.samaritanspurse.com/occ to find out how to pack a shoebox, where to bring it, and how to follow your box on its journey! You can also organize a packing party or join with one near you.

Check out a few resources I have on my blog, too

  1. Christmas Charity on a Shoestring- Frugal ways to contribute to OCC
  2. Share on “Shoe Tube” and win a distribution trip!


Sarah Pinnix is a North Carolina mom of 3 girls. RealLifeBlog.net is home to her blog, where she shares about family, faith, parenting, homemaking, and more. Sarah is passionate about encouraging other moms to accept (and laugh at) their imperfections while at the same time striving for excellence in life. She also hosts a weekly live web show, called the “Mom Blog Buzz,” all about the social media mom, and the world of blogging.


  1. says

    I have a friend who is a missionary in Ecuador. Last year she was able to witness a shoebox delivery! She said that, hands down, stuffed animals were the most loved item. She said boys and girls, young and old loved them. If they found one in their box, they would tuck them under their arm and NOT let go. So, my word of advice, don’t forget a stuffed animal. :)
    Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies´s last blog post ..A Giveaway!

  2. says

    I just made a trip to walmart and grabbed some party favors out of the halloween section (but not halloween looking) at 75% off to add to the boxes.

    But my favorite was finding $6 Nike’s at the outlet this summer, and $5 Reebok’s with the Rue La La deal recently! I used to not send shoes but then I heard a testimony of a girl in Bosnia (I believe) and she spoke of getting school supplies and shoes so those are definatly “must-have” when we make the shoeboxes.

    BTW, this is one of my top favorite things about this season!
    Felicia´s last blog post ..Pumpkin Chocolate-chip Muffins

  3. says

    Great post, Sarah!
    My kids volunteered at the packing center lasy year. They will be going again next weekend to volunteer. They open and check each shoebox and every box is to have a toy in it. They check that if it is for a girl, the items are all made to suit a girl. There are extra toys that are donated and they will put a toy in if one is not included. They also remove inappropriate items, such as balloons, small toys that may be dangerous, chocolate which could melt, and money. They also try to include toothpaste and a tooth brush in every box.
    They pray as a group for the children of each country and will pack shipments to several countries each day. This is a great way to teach your kids the joy of giving and how they can make a difference in a person’s life. Congrats to your children!

  4. Elizabeth says

    We are filling the shoeboxes at our house too. I love the idea of the shoes-but is there room for much of anything else once the shoes are in there? We are in the land of Mardi Gras, so stuffed animals are plentiful and I will definitely put one of those in there! Thanks for the tips! Check out my own 30-day Challenge at my last post.
    Elizabeth´s last blog post ..30 Day Giving Challenge Day 4 is Complete!

  5. says

    Stacey from OCC headquarters here. Sarah, that photo of your daugthers is GREAT! Looks like you had a lot of fun. Love the 30-Day Giving challenge!!

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