By: Steff Willis
Samaritan’s Purse is this year celebrating the 30-year journey of Operation Christmas Child, a heart-warming initiative that has touched the lives of countless children in over 170 nations.
Shoebox packers from Australia and New Zealand will join volunteers from around the world to send more than 10.5 million shoebox gifts worldwide with 228,104 being packed in Australia and New Zealand in 2022 alone.
As a result of this project, over 4.5 million children joined The Greatest Journey, a 12-lesson discipleship program where children learn to follow Jesus and tell others about Him.
Packing a gift-filled shoebox is an easy and fun experience, beginning with selecting the gender and age of the child the gift is intended for, then packing the giftbox with a fun toy, clothing, non-liquid personal care items, and school supplies.
How To Pack a Shoebox
- SHOEBOX: Order your pre-printed shoeboxes online or use a regular size shoebox with lid no larger than an A4 page.
- GIFTS: Choose a boy or girl and age group (2-4, 5-9 or 10-14) and fill your shoebox with gifts.
- DONATE: A donation of $12.50 per box is essential to cover shipping and other project costs. For easiest processing, you can give online through operationchristmaschild.org.au, or you can give by completing the form in the ‘How to Pack’ brochure and enclose in your shoebox gift. If you use the online option, you can ‘Follow Your Box’ and discover the destination of your gift.
- LABEL: Every shoebox gift must be clearly labelled. Visit the Donations & Labels page at operationchristmaschild.org.au to order your labels when you make your $12.50 donation, or use the label included in The ‘How to Pack’ brochure. Please ensure the label clearly indicates if you packed for a boy or girl and which age category, then stick it on your shoebox!
- PRAY: Most importantly, pray for the child who will receive your shoebox gift and for their family and community to be transformed by the Gospel.
Ideas for Your Shoebox
Fill your shoebox with simple gifts… and aim to include something from each of the six categories:
- Something to wear
- Something to play with
- Something for school
- Something to love
- Something special
- Something for personal hygiene
You can download the full list of gift ideas here.
Once a shoebox is packed, they can be dropped off to one of the 300 designated drop-off locations around Australia and New Zealand between 23 October to 4 November.
Following the excitement of packing shoebox gifts, Operation Christmas Child works with volunteers in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, and Hamilton, New Zealand. During October and November each year, volunteers work together to inspect and organise shoeboxes to prepare them for international shipment.
For more information on how to pack a shoebox, or to get involved, we invite you to follow Operation Christmas Child Australia & New Zealand on Facebook and Instagram. Additional information can also be found at OperationChristmasChild.org.au.