Since 2007, members of Holy Trinity have packed shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and hygiene items for children in need throughout the world. This ministry has caught on so well here at Holy Trinity because it really is a wonderful opportunity for children and adults to engage in hands-on mission and experience the joy of shopping for and filling shoeboxes for children who are victims of war, earthquakes, floods, famines, poverty, jobless parents, or other life devastations. This is a Christian ministry made available through Samaritan’s Purse, a charity that Charity Navigator gives 4-Stars. Each child who is given a shoebox also receives an age-and-culturally-appropriate Gospel in his/her language. There are many wonderful stories of how these gifts and the Gospel have brought families to church and to the feet of Jesus.

For an inspirational story — click here!

How many shoeboxes can you make happen? Please consider packing as many shoeboxes as possible — either as your personal or family project or, even better, by asking extended family and friends to join you in this effort. Shoeboxes will be collected at Holy Trinity during the worship services of the second weekend in November.

This shoebox ministry, known as Operation Christmas Child, is a major ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, a nondenominational Christian organization headed by Franklin Graham. Know that your boxes of goodies may well be the only gift that a child receives all year or EVER. Also keep in mind that this is your personal opportunity to be an evangelist. So the more boxes you prepare, the more opportunities you create for children and their families to know Jesus and His saving love.

Shipping Costs: You will be asked to contribute money ($7) for each shoebox you send to defray the costs of shipping these boxes to their destinations.

Tracking: You can find out where your box goes. Visit www.samaritanspurse.org Click “What We Do” and select “Operation Christmas Child.” On the left menu click “Journey of a Shoebox.” You will find a “Follow Your Box” link under Collecting Shoeboxes. Once you make your online contribution for shipping, you will receive an e-mail to print your bar code. Affix this to your shoebox, making sure not to tape over the actual bar code. Then, next January, you will receive an e-mail telling you the countries where your shoeboxes were delivered.

You will find envelopes in the narthex which will make it possible for you to designate what age boy or girl should receive each shoebox you have prepared. And as you are preparing each shoebox, be sure to pray for the child who will receive it.

There is a pocket in the envelope for you to include a contribution that will cover the shipping costs. Be sure to make your checks payable to Samaritan’s Purse. Stick these envelopes underneath the rubber band you will use to secure your shoebox (each of the boxes needs to be able to be opened).

Also on the envelope, you will find a list of what to include:

A Shoebox Ministry to Children Around the World:

1. Use a sturdy shoebox or a plastic shoebox-sized container.

2. It is not necessary, but if you do gift-wrap your box, boxes and lids must be wrapped separately due to mandatory inspections.

3. Select the gender (boy or girl) and age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Note: The gender & age-group that never gets enough boxes is boys age 10-14.

4. Make purchases and fill your shoeboxes to capacity.

5. You may include your name and address and/or a picture. Sometimes a child or family writes you. Add on top a check to Samaritan’s Purse for $7 for each box you have packed. You only need one check, even if you are preparing several boxes. OR visit www.samaritan’s purse.org to download bar-coded strips to affix to your shoeboxes and learn later where they go.

6. Place the lid on your box and tape on top the completed Operation Christmas Child label.

7. Place 2-3 rubber bands around your box and bring to a Holy Trinity Worship Service during the second week in November.

Here are some ideas to get you started but be creative!

Pencils & sharpeners, erasers, crayons, glue stick, child-safe scissors, ruler

6-9 pads of plain and construction paper, stamps and inkpad sets

Pens for Older Children, solar calculators

Combs, toothbrush, soap (in plastic Ziploc bag), washcloth (NO toothpaste!)

Socks, T-shirt, bandanas, sunglasses, ball caps, gloves

Mirror (plastic not glass), Fun print tissue pack, Band-aids with designs

Novelty Plastic ware: cups, plates, straws

Toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries)

Beanie Baby-sized stuffed animals, dolls, balls (bouncy, hacky sack, blow-up beach balls, balloons)

Age-and-gender-appropriate small backpacks, purses, visors

Boys:

Legos, yoyos, slinkies

Matchbox and tension-release cars and trucks,

Chapstick

Wristwatch

Flashlights — include 2 rounds of batteries

Workgloves

Girls:

Emery boards, nail art, nail brushes

Jewelry (bracelets, necklaces, ankle bracelets, etc)

Bead making kids

Lip gloss

Hair bands, clips, etc

Jump ropes

Do’s and Don’ts:

NO toys of war (military figures, guns, knives, weapons, etc)

NO toothpaste

NO chocolate or any candies that would melt in heat

NO food or candy of any kind

NO lotions, liquids, bottles of “bubble-stuff,” etc.

NO used or damaged items

NO medications or vitamins

NO breakable items such as snowglobes or glass containers

NO aerosol cans

DO include storybooks (but remember that you do not know what language your child speaks)

DO consider games (especially travel size) that have picture directions, directions in several languages, or are able to be easily understood if a child cannot read English

DO be culturally sensitive when making selections. This project is about spreading the love of Jesus. The children who receive your gifts are mostly non-caucasion (“red and yellow, black and white — they are precious in His sight”)

AVOID toys with American flags

Questions: Contact Rosemary Hinkle at RHinkle@abington.org