With ideas for the whole year, Sarah Smith, our OCC coordinator, shares helpful insights for this special ministry.
Sunday was the collection day for the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. (It was 344 boxes!)
It was so inspiring to see people stacking up their boxes. Packing shoeboxes for OCC is my favorite way to kick-off the Christmas season.
Host a Packing Party
One of the things our family likes to do is to have a shoebox packing party. This first started with our family of five and has since grown to include our small group. We buy and stash goodies away all year, then get together to pack the boxes, write notes of encouragement, and pray over them. This has been a true blessing to us and has helped teach our kids (and us) about generosity, selflessness, prayer and the true power of Christ.
We would like to encourage other small groups, families, or friend groups to host their own packing parties next year. There are many easy ways to do this to make it easy, affordable and a great ministry event. I will be sharing tips throughout the year but here are some to get you thinking.
- Have a bin or two handy for OCC. Throw things in throughout the year. This makes it easy to know where everything is.
- Keep an eye out for free stuff- and don’t throw it away! We get tons of free things from everywhere – parades, school carnivals, fairs, conventions, etc. Hold on to those pencils, pens, notepads, necklaces, and anything else that would fit in a shoebox.
- Buy things that are on sale. Pick up school supplies when it is school shopping season and save tons of money on crayons and paper. The Target dollar section has great things occasionally on clearance. Menards often has things that are free after rebate and this is a wonderful way to stock up.
Serve at the OCC Processing Center
The other way you can be involved is to volunteer in the OCC processing center. This is another one of my highlights from Christmas. You can sign up here.
Get a group together or do this as a family (you need to be at least 13 years old). This is a wonderful way to see what is in the boxes and I always leave with lots of great ideas of what else to pack.
One of the best parts of being there is hearing the way God makes sure the right box gets to the right child. They have story after story about children getting the exact things they needed and wanted… exact shoe sizes, toys that they had always wanted, medical supplies needed, and more. I always get weepy hearing these true stories because we have such a great God.
Thank you First Covenant Church for your generosity, prayers, and enthusiasm for Operation Christmas Child. Please continue to be in prayer for this amazing ministry!