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. Children are then invited to participate in The Greatest Journey, a 12-week discipleship program that teaches how to follow Jesus and share Him with family and friends. There are many wonderful stories of how these gifts and the Gospel have brought families to church and to the feet of Jesus.
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 ($9) 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 How to Pack Your Shoebox Gift brochures in the narthex. Each brochure contains both a boy and a girl label for packed shoeboxes, a list of suggested items to include in your boxes, and an envelope in which to place your shipping contribution. Be sure to make your check payable to Samaritan’s Purse and place the envelope containing the check just inside one of your boxes. (You can write one check to cover shipping for all your boxes.)
Next, tape your label onto your box lid in one of the four corners (not in the middle) and place at least two rubber bands around your box. Never tape or wrap shut your boxes as they must pass through an inspection before leaving the country.
Very importantly, as you are preparing each shoebox, be sure to pray for the child who will receive it.
A Shoebox Ministry to Children Around the World:
1. Use a sturdy cardboard shoebox or a plastic shoebox purchased through Samaritan’s Purse. Regular plastic shoeboxes are discouraged as they typically crack in transport.
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 to defray shipping costs 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 the completed label in one of the corners (not the middle of the box).
7. Place 2-3 rubber bands around your box and bring to a Holy Trinity Worship Service during the second week in November. NEVER tape or wrap the box shut.
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
Legos, yoyos, slinkies
Matchbox and tension-release cars and trucks,
Flashlights — include 2 rounds of batteries
Emery boards, nail art, nail brushes
Jewelry (bracelets, necklaces, ankle bracelets, etc)
Bead making kids
Hair bands, clips, etc
Do’s and Don’ts:
NO toys of war (military figures, guns, knives, weapons, etc)
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”) — So maybe a “white” Barbie doll is not such a good idea.
AVOID toys or clothes with American flags
Questions: Contact Rosemary Hinkle at RHinkle@abington.org