I do want to apologize for being MIA yesterday, however, I had a good excuse. It was my 28th wedding anniversary, our son earned his black belt in Shorin Ryu Karate from the Ducote Family Karate Club and our daughter participated in a craft sale on behalf of our family in the village. We were very busy and so happy to work together to see success. Now on to other business. Last week our church passed out the flyers for Operation Christmas Child. (Also known as OCC) Every year hundreds of people participate in gathering shoeboxes full of gifts for children who would never get a surprise gift, probably in their lifetime, if it were not for OCC. My family found out a few years ago that OCC happily accepts handmade gifts for the shoeboxes. We were SO excited because that meant that we could use our talents to increase our giving to children all over the world. You do not have to attend church to participate in Operation Christmas Child. Though many churches collect for OCC you do not have to belong to a church to contribute a shoebox.
Yes, Operation Christmas Child is a faith based organization, however, they do deliver shoeboxes in countries where there is no religion or there is a state religion which is not Christian in nature. OCC does not discriminate nor do they force any child to accept Christianity before they are given their shoebox gift. OCC is an outreach of Samaritan's purse which is known for being respectful of each culture. The shoebox gifts are just that, a simple, uncomplicated way to show a child that they are thought of and loved. If you'd like to more about OCC check their "Frequently Asked Questions". There's no attempt to "convert" those who pack boxes either. According to the OCC "Fact Sheet" shoe boxes are collected from "U.S., Australia, Finland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Spain, and the U.K."
The goal this year: In 2017, Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 12 million children in countries like Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda and Ukraine. Nearly 11.5 million shoebox gifts were collected worldwide in 2016, with more than 9.1 million collected in the U.S. Amazing. It is a wonderful thing to see a child's eyes light up when they get a lovely surprise from someone far away. Hope is a powerful thing. When children know someone cares it gives them hope and may even change their life for the better.
There are a lot of patterns for adorable handmade gifts for kids just remember follow the guidelines because we wouldn't want the gifts to be taken out of the boxes. Yes each box is checked to make sure that all standards are met. The gifts that do not meet the standards are shared with homeless shelters in the area of the major collection centers, nothing is thrown out unless it is damaged. All that being said let's get to the good stuff, free patterns you might want to use to share with OCC! I will use their categories to make it easier to follow.
The "Wow" gifts (toys or clothing ect.) :
Personal item gifts:
Clothing and school supplies:
I hope this blog gives you some idea of all the great things we can offer Operation Christmas Child. We can make a difference in one life simply by filling a shoebox and turning it in to the nearest church, business, school collecting the boxes. It really is a lot of fun to fill the shoeboxes with surprises!
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.