Operation Christmas Child
Have you ever thought about what other people do for Christmas gifts? Especially when they don’t have any money for food and shelter? Samaritan’s Purse is our Cause of the Week this week, and it also happens to be their donation week for their big project called Operation Christmas Child.
Samaritan’s Purse uses Facebook with over 61,000 “likes” on their Facebook page, and they use Twitter with over 9,200 followers on their Samaritan’s Purse account and over 3, 700 on their Operation Christmas Child Twitter page to promote their cause. They can definitely use more work to spread the word of their annual event through improving social media activity and support, and it’s great to help by engaging and interacting with their followers as they do already.
Socialize Your Cause is excited to help Operation Christmas Child this week, and wish them much success in this donation event this week.
Story about a girl that received a Christmas Box from Operation Christmas Child:
After receiving a shoe box when she lived in Ghana, a 12-year-old girl now gives back through Operation Christmas Child
Ask Victoria Blaske about Operation Christmas Child, and her eyes will immediately light up. She knows what a blessing a simple gift can bring to a girl or boy living in difficult circumstances.
When she was 7, Victoria received a shoe box at her school in the rural village in northern Ghana. The students were instructed not to open their boxes until they had arrived safely home.
Unable to contain her excitement, the little girl in a tattered school uniform joined her classmates in a mad dash home—more than a mile away. Once there, they gathered under the large mango tree in the village and created quite a spectacle as they unwrapped the colorful packages.
Inside Victoria’s box were washcloths, a round tin of bubble gum, a Barbie doll, and a plastic white horse. These were the first toys she had ever received.
“I was so excited to see all the boxes,” Victoria recalled. “I felt sad though, realizing my friends that weren’t at school that day would not receive these gifts.”
That evening, the children and their families were invited back to the school grounds to watch a movie about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Their makeshift outdoor theater was simply a large white sheet tied between two trees and draped over the stack of empty cartons that had held shoe boxes just hours before.
Victoria was enthralled. She was all the more astonished that the movie was in Frafra, her native tongue and an uncommon language even in Ghana. The villagers were greatly moved too, and many tearfully committed their hearts to Christ.
The details of that joy-filled day five years ago remain vivid to Victoria. For a child who had experienced great loss in her young life, the shoe box distribution and evangelistic program were the Christmas Day she had never experienced before.
Victoria’s mother died from complications of childbirth. Her father, unsure what to do next, gave his newborn daughter to her aunt and uncle, the village pastor, to raise. The couple lovingly cared for Victoria but, with six children of their own, it became increasingly difficult to provide enough food for everyone.
When she was 8, she was accepted into a Christian children’s home in another city, where she remained in contact with her relatives. She lived at the home for over a year.
Victoria’s story has a happy ending. In March 2008, she and a little boy from the home were adopted by a family in Lynden, Washington. Dave and Carrie Blaske already had four biological children, and they have since adopted another boy from the same Ghana orphanage, bringing their total number of children to seven.
Before departing for her new life in America, Victoria and her adoptive parents visited her native village (pictured above). It was an emotional time when she came to say goodbye to her aunt and uncle and cousins.
What surprised Carrie was the first question Victoria posed to her aunt.
“I remember Victoria running down the dirt path to her old home,” Carrie said. “She was anxiously talking to her aunt in their language. She was trying to find out whether or not her aunt still had the toy horse she had received in her shoe box. The aunt explained to Victoria that the toy had spoiled in the mud and rain. Victoria was devastated.”
During her first Christmas season with the Blaskes, Victoria was eager to pack a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child. In fact, she wanted to pack as many as possible.
“She thought they were going to kids in her village,” Carrie said. “She told me, ‘I need to do 10 boxes, Mom. I need to do more.’”
Carrie explained that the boxes probably would not go to children in her village, but they would be delivered to hurting kids somewhere who needed to know that God loves them.
Victoria, who turned 12 on Oct. 9, packed two boxes last year—one for a girl and another for a boy. She is meticulous in selecting just the right items for a child her age. She also includes a letter and photo of herself.
The Blaskes still stay in touch with Victoria’s aunt and uncle through mutual friends. When they went to Ghana in May of this year to adopt a 6-year-old boy from the same children’s home, Carrie and Dave brought along a photo album containing pictures of Victoria. They requested that the album be given to Victoria’s relatives.
Victoria says she plans to become a nurse someday. She does not know where that dream will lead her, but she would like to serve as a staff nurse at the orphanage in Ghana. It’s her way of giving back and ministering to other children.
For now, her love for the Lord shines through as she shares her testimony and encourages others to pack shoe boxes. She has certainly inspired her family in Washington to embrace Operation Christmas Child.
“Listening to Victoria tell her story for the first time to us made the impact of Operation Christmas Child very real for our kids,” Carrie said. “When you stop and think about the faces behind the boxes, and the people in the villages where the children live, suddenly you realize the far-reaching effects just one box can have.
“Packing shoe box gifts will be a part of what our family does for Christmas from now on.”
What is Operation Christmas Child and how can I donate?
Dave Ramsey explains in this video how it works. Here are the steps that they recommend to follow to pack a shoe box for donation:
1. SHOE BOX
Use an empty shoe box (standard size, please) or a small plastic container. You can wrap the box (lid separately), but wrapping is not required. Most importantly, pray for the child who will receive your gift.
2. BOY OR GIRL?
Determine whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the child’s age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Print out the appropriate boy/girl label by downloading the artwork to the right. Mark the correct age category on the label, and tape the label to the top of your box.
3. FILL WITH GIFTS
Fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child. Use the gift ideas provided at the bottom of this page.
4. INCLUDE YOUR DONATION
Please donate $7 or more for each shoe box you prepare to help cover shipping and other project costs. You can give online by using our EZGIVE option, or you can write a check to Samaritan’s Purse (note “OCC” on memo line) and place it in an envelope on top of the gift items inside your box. If you or your family are preparing more than one shoe box, please make one combined donation.
5. DROP OFF
Place a rubber band around each closed shoe box and drop off at the Collection Center nearest you during our collection week November 15 – 22.
For locations and hours of collection visit our Drop-Off Locations page where you can find the nearest place to take your shoe box by entering your ZIP Code or you can call 1-800-353-5949.
You can also send your shoe box gift to:
Operation Christmas Child
801 Bamboo Road
Boone, NC 28607
For more information about Samaritan’s Purse, and Operation Christmas Child, please visit: