On Saturday, November 12th, I will be holding a Virtual Packing Party!
Do a post on packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child with photos of your boxes and link up here for a fun online party! This week I was intentional–everything that caught my eye was for shoeboxes!
A Note On Homemade Items
Remember that homemade things are often viewed as a slight–as “less than.” Poor people in many countries make do with next to nothing. Buying something from a store costs so much money that they feel truly honored to receive a store-bought gift. I’m including things here that are homemade, but that I feel would still be seen as a gift.
A Note on Gender-Specific Items
Many foreign cultures has very rigid ideas of what is right or wrong for boys and girls. Men and Women have rigidly defined roles in many societies. It is not helpful to send a child an item that will be taken away. No matter that girls here play sports and boys cook and all sorts of other examples, that is simply not the case everywhere. The role of the shoebox is to show God’s love–not to change a very traditional society.
A Note on Poverty
Poverty in Malawi looks very different than poverty in Ukraine. A child in Ukraine may look like your children’s friends, dress like them and even be seen with toys like theirs. Remember, though, that they go to bed hungry, they may endure a harsh winter with little or no heat and have to go to school in outgrown clothes or no boots even though they might have to walk to school. In Malawi a child may have never had a cup of his own or a pair of underpants. This is about God’s provision, His love, not looks.
Older boys are the boxes OCC gets least of. Why not remedy that and hurry up and pack a nice box for a boy 5 to 9 or 10 to 14 years old? Operation Christmas Child has some great suggestions, but I think this is awesome. Draw the cutouts, include the materials and be sure to put in a PHOTO of how it should look! Don’t assume someone will read English. What boy wouldn’t want a Foosball Box? Directions and more photos at The Mad House. Well done!
Another great boy’s idea–roads! Again, include a photo and, obviously, some Hot Wheels. I love that it has a round-about!
If sending feminine hygiene items for older girls, imagine how your daughter would feel opening a Christmas box and having a bag of Kotex or a box of tampons on top? Be discreet–put them in a dark bag.
Girls of any age could enjoy this, but remember, in many cultures girls do not have play time. They work carrying water, tending cooking fires and mind younger children. Do not try to do “ethnic” art–just make a simple house with ordinary chairs, etc. Children in Eastern Europe, and other places, live in homes just like ours–though usually much smaller and generally they are apartments.
These are very cute little dresses and both easily made out of left over yarn or an inexpensive tank top, and left over fabric. Please, always ask yourself, “Would my child wear this?” I don’t mean would your child jump for joy over it, but would they be willing to wear it if times were hard? That kind of “wear it.” FREE pattern here.
In the U.S.A. we tend to think all of Africa is on the Equator and stifling hot. It isn’t! Where I lived in Malawi it could be as cold as the 40s early on a winter’s morning. If you send a dress like this, consider spending just a little more and sending a coordinated t-shirt to go under it. Then pack the shirt and dress so they are like a jumper and blouse.
Boy or Girl Box
Washcloths and Soap Bags
Some of these might end up as decoration in a home, rather than used for a washcloth. Former Catholics, for example, may feel it is not ok to defile them by washing with them No matter–they will be a good gift.
My Pinterest board has other great last minute ideas!
Want to save the landfills? Consider Up-Cycling projects like T-shirt bags or T-shirt jump ropes! Instructions on the Pinterest Board below.
If you’d like to participate in the Virtual Packing Party but do not have a blog, that’s ok!
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will happily add your photos to my post with whatever acknowledgement you want. That post will be a “sticky” on my blog throughout the collection days.