By Judy Bellenger
Now more than ever, children need hope. As the world struggles with the coronavirus pandemic, we are praying for even greater opportunities to reach boys and girls with the Gospel. We want to let them know God loves them and has not forgotten them. The best way to get involved is to pack a shoebox. Simple enough. For many children around the globe, the gift-filled shoebox is the first gift they have ever received.
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 178 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 160 countries and territories.
In 2020 Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect enough shoebox gifts to reach another 11 million children in countries like Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda, and Ukraine. More than 10.5 million shoebox gifts were collected worldwide in 2019, with more than 8.9 million collected in the United States.
Boxes are now available and can be picked up at the Big Canoe Chapel on Tuesdays and Fridays from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. or anytime at the Postal Facility. Shipping labels are included with the boxes. The deadline for returning shoeboxes is November 16 and they can be returned to the racks at the Chapel and inside the Postal Facility.
This year a variety of free items will be available when you pick-up your shoebox to fill. Those who prefer to do their own shopping are welcome to do so. Instructions on packing a shoebox and a suggested list of items to include can be found at bigcanoechapel.org/shoeboxes.
For those who cannot get out or may not feel comfortable shopping, Build-A-Box is an option. Information on how to Build-A-Box is available at bigcanoechapel.org/shoeboxes. The cost is $25 which includes $9 for shipping.
Many people like to know where their shoeboxes are going. By making a simple donation for shipping and other program costs, those who pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child can discover the country where their gifts are sent. Samaritan’s Purse will email a special label which, when attached to each shoebox packed, allows the donor to know the country of destination. Instructions on tracking can also be found at bigcanoechapel.org/shoeboxes.
The Big Canoe community has packed a lot of shoeboxes over the years and this year will be no exception. This is something everyone can do to help kids around the world.