My husband and I have taken part in Operation Christmas Child (OCC) for many years. We are thankful that God has continually blessed us in such a way that we have been able to support them and Samaritan's Purse in this way.
The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to needy children around the world, and together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
We were already planning on doing the project again this year with our girls, but a clip from this VeggieTales video, Saint Nicholas, got Sweet Girl really excited about it. The clip showed children receiving the boxes and told about OCC and what it does.  (By the way, this is an awesome video to watch to explain who Saint Nick really was.)

First stop was to pick up some boxes.  We got ours at our local Chick-fil-A restaurant, but Samaritans Purse has an online option of filling a shoe box AND you can send boxes year round.  It doesn't just have to be at Christmas time.

We went shopping the next day with a list of suggested items.  We actually took the boxes with us to make sure what we bought would fit.  I talked with Sweet Girl ahead of time to decide who we wanted to fill shoe boxes for.  She chose a girl 5-9 years old (because her cousin is nine) and a boy 2-4 years old.  Love Bug and I did a girl 2-4 years old and a boy 10-14 years old.  

It was so heartwarming to see Sweet Girl shopping for children she does not even know.  I let her pick out most of the items for "her" boxes.  She loved filling them up as we shopped.  She would say things like, "I think my girl would like that shirt because it's like (my cousin's)" and "Do you think you're boy would like this?"

As one would expect, Sweet Girl did ask a couple of times if she could get something for herself.  I just reminded her that we weren't there shopping for ourselves and that we were getting gifts for children that wouldn't otherwise have gifts. 

These children are not just receiving a shoe box filled with goodies and toiletries.  By giving through OCC, each box will also include a message of God's love.

Operation Christmas Child has these really cool worksheets to fill out and share some information about ourselves like our favorite food, what our house looks like and where we live   Sweet Girl is into maps, so this turned into a mini geography lesson for her.   I let Love Bug color a sheet, too.  My husband and I even did one.  This was definitely a family project.

Next, came the packing of the boxes.  The girls were especially excited to help with this part.  We made sure each child's box got some items they need like soap, a toothbrush and a shirt, but also included fun things like stickers, games, books and a stuffed animal.
It was fun shopping for items for the shoe boxes and packing them, but the purpose of this activity goes much further than that.  We want the children of the world to know that God loves them and died for their sins so they can spend eternity in Heaven if they accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.  That it doesn't matter their living conditions aren't the best or they don't have a lot of possessions or what sins they've committed in the past.  

Also, we are planting seeds for our daughters to have giving, caring hearts and to give out of love, expecting nothing in return.  To see the pure joy in Sweet Girl's face as we dropped off the filled shoe boxes made this mama proud.

How are you teaching giving to your family?
**Side note:  We registered our boxes online and got a special barcode to print out and affix to our boxes.  We will actually be notified of when our packages arrive and in what country.  Not only will be able to locate where they live on our map, we can use this to further our talks and prayers for the children who receive the boxes.

**All photos and text are property of Angela Pounders and can not be distributed without permission.  
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