First of all, it's not too late!!! If you're familiar with this ministry/organization/charity and would like to still send a shoebox, you have until MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23.
Operation Christmas Child is one of many charitable giving opportunities that crop up this time of year. It's a significant part of Samaritan's Purse Ministries, begun by Franklin Graham. Why am I mentioning this particular opportunity among the thousands that present themselves?
1. It's a very tangible way for your children to participate in giving to someone else.
2. It's a reliable way to give something tangible to needy children (no one's going to embezzle tubes of toothpaste or Dollar Tree earrings).
3. It's a Christian ministry; the gospel is presented along with every shoebox.
4. It's easy: pick an age group and a gender that you would like to give something to. Go shopping and/or make something. Pack a shoebox and drop it off. (OK, this isn't quite as easy as giving a check, but it is easier than some of the Angel Tree requests I've shopped for in the past!)
5. It's got a big bang for the buck. You can fill a shoebox fairly inexpensively ($10-$20 should do the trick), attach your $7 donation (helps cover shipping and such), and make a child's Christmas. In the grand scheme of things, this is a relatively small amount of money with a big yield.
How does it work? You and your children fill a shoe box or similar sized plastic container with age- and gender-appropriate items (there's a list of recommendations on the website), wrap the shoe box, and drop it off at a location in your area (a list of these also on the website). Many churches and schools sponsor this, so your child may already have been given a flyer. If you missed the school/church deadline, it's not too late to drop a box off at a donation spot in your city! Then, Samarian's Purse ships the boxes to children around the world, presenting the gospel after the children open their presents. There are all kinds of heart warming videos on the website. Now, you can also "track" your box. If you make your $7 donation online, you'll get an email once your box is delivered. I think that's pretty cool.