In service to others, how can we make a difference?
Traditions run pretty deep in our family, and around the holidays this is one that I hope will continue for a very long time. About five years ago, I was introduced to Samaritan's Purse, which is an international non-profit organization that is focused on numerous relief efforts and evangelism. From that time forward we started our new family tradition of packing gift-filled shoeboxes for children in need. For our own children, this is a great time for reflection and thanksgiving about how blessed we are as a family. In our experience, when you are thankful you become more grateful and more appreciative of the everyday conveniences that we are all guilty of taking for granted.
Every year, Samaritan's Purse hosts what they call a National Collection Week for the Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts. Operation Christmas Child is a program that began in 1993 and this year's collection week runs from November 14th through November 21, 2016. During the National Collection Week, you can drop off your shoebox at any one of approximately 4,500 locations throughout the nation.
Since the inception of the program in 1993, over 135 million shoeboxes filled with gifts have been distributed to children in more than 150 different territories and countries. These shoeboxes are packed to the max with things like small toys, various hygiene items, school supplies and personal notes to the children who will receive the boxes. According to the Samaritan's Purse website, this will often be the very first gift that a child has ever received.
So, this week if you want to pack a shoebox and send it on, you may find yourself starting a new and worthwhile tradition of your own! The links below will take you to the official Operation Christmas Child webpage that will show you how to get started, and also an additional link where you can search by your location to find out where you can go to drop off your shoebox.
Have a Blessed Thanksgiving,