I wrote about Operation Christmas Child last year while talking about my favorite holiday tradition. If you haven’t heard of Operation Christmas Child, it is an organization that delivers shoe boxes filled with love (toiletries, small gifts, educational supplies and clothing) to children in need. Here’s a photo of Colton and I last year while filling over twenty shoe boxes for children all around the world who would otherwise receive no Christmas gifts.
A lot has changed since I wrote that blog post in 2011, as you know, we are adopting. Two precious five year olds half way around the world now call me Mommy. Just a few weeks ago I was in Ghana, meeting my children for the first time and I think there is no better post than this, to share their photo for the first time.
Jonathan and Faustina are just like your children at home: they love hugs, they love new clothes, they love to color and they shout with glee at the sight of a new toy just for them. The difference is, like millions of other children living in poverty and third-world countries, they know what it’s like to be hungry and to see loved ones die of causes that would be preventable here in the United States. When we were with them they experienced a bath for the first time, three meals a day for the first time and the love of both a Mom and a Dad for the first time.
I’m reading the book Kisses from Katie, a story of a young woman living in Uganda. She grew up in a wealthy family and upon returning to visit her family in the United States she thought this, “My mind began to race as I looked at the food piled high in my parents’ kitchen. Joyce is still alive, but so many others are not. They are dying of starvation and preventable, treatable diseases. Why, with all the wealth, technology and resources that exist in the western world, have we not solved these problems? It is possible for children to live! And yet they are dying by the thousands. While we sit here full and content, everything we ever need right within our reach.”
After reading that, you may think: Well, what can I even do? There are so many in need of help, is it even worth it if I am only able to help one? Will sending a small shoebox even help? Just this month, here in Des Moines, a boy came to speak at a local school about his experience receiving a small box as an orphan in a Russian orphanage.
“Bianco had been bickering with friends the day he received a shoe box. After tearing it open, the teen remembers a toy car, colored pens and a T-shirt. He said overwhelming love and hope rushed over him. Someone cared enough about him to send him a gift. Bianco didn’t realize what the shoe boxes were or where they came from until years later, after his adoption into a Chicago family. He told Des Moines Christian students that when he was 15, his stepsister came home with Operation Christmas Child boxes to fill.“I froze for a few seconds, then all that hope rushed back and I started crying,” he said. “When you pack the box, God will take it to the right person,” he said.
Filling these shoe boxes may not look like much to us, but for these kids it really is something special. For some, this will be the first gift that they will receive. For others, it will be the only gift they receive every year. I encourage you to start now to teach your children the importance of giving and the importance of treating others as we would like to be treated. Here’s all of the information you need to start packing boxes with your children.
As I sit here wishing that my two children were home, I realize that there are millions more out there with just as cute faces, who are just as silly and playful and who delight in the basic of needs such as taking a bath or brushing their teeth. Your boxes will go to one of those children. And they will feel love.
This holiday season build a box with your family to teach kindness, compassion, and generosity.
BlogFrog will match the first 200 boxes that are built. Pledge your commitment below to build a box today on Facebook or Twitter!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Operation Christmas Child. The opinions and text are all mine.