My Mum has started a tradition. Every year around this time she takes her grandchildren shopping to buy gifts for kids who have never received gifts before. They fill up shoeboxes with gifts, decorate the boxes and send them to the Samaritan’s Purse “Operation Christmas Child” project.
Now that she is a big 4 year old, Miss TT got to join in the fun this year with her 4 cousins. After explaining to her how some kids aren’t as lucky as she is and how we should help those who don’t have a lot, she decided that her shoebox of gifts would be for a 4 year old girl.
We hit the shops and she helped choose the gifts:
- Something to wear (a skirt and t-shirt)
- Something to love (a teddy bear)
- Something special (sunglasses and a sticker book)
- Some things for school (notepad, lead pencils, eraser, coloured pencils, pencil sharpener, drink bottle)
- Something to play with (bouncy ball)
- Something for personal hygiene (hairbrush, hair elastics, toothbrush, face washer, bar of soap)
All of these items for Miss TT’s shoebox came to around $30. When you consider what I will spend on family Christmas gifts this year, it’s nothing. But for a little 4 year old girl out there somewhere who has never received gifts like these before? It will mean much more.
Globally, more than 100 million shoeboxes have been given to kids in need in over 130 countries since 1993. This year the aim is to send 340,000 shoeboxes to kids in need throughout Southeast Asia and the South Pacific.
My Mum is clever. Not only does this annual tradition teach her grandchildren about helping others, she sets a dollar limit on each shoebox so the kids have to budget and think carefully about what gifts they choose. Once all gifts are brought home, the kids wrap the shoeboxes in Christmas wrapping and squeeze all the gifts in, ready for delivery.
Miss TT really enjoyed her shopping trip this week. She loved choosing the gifts but wanted to know all the details about who her gift was going to. What’s her name? Where does she live? Can I call her? Does she like dolls? Lots and lots of questions (nothing new there).
No matter how old or young you are, pack a shoebox this year for a child who has nothing.
OCTOBER is national collection month in Australia and New Zealand. All shoeboxes packed with gifts can be delivered to a number of drop off points listed here. A donation of $9 for each shoebox helps cover all project and shipping costs.
For more on this project including gift ideas for what to pack, how to pack and what not to pack in your shoebox, visit the Operation Christmas Child Australia and New Zealand Facebook page.