Samaritan’s Purse gift program back again

Published 7:07 pm Friday, October 22, 2010

Operation Christmas Child brightens the lives of children living in Iraq. The Samaritan’s Purse ministry ships millions of gift-filled shoeboxes to dozens of countries throughout the world.

A little more than two months from now, millions of children all over the world will receive gifts packed into shoeboxes from Operation Christmas Child.

Every year, folks in the United States, Canada and a handful of European countries pack shoeboxes for the ministry run by Samaritan’s Purse, an international charity run by Franklin Graham.

Around Christmas last year, more than eight million children in dozens of countries received the shoebox gifts. Since the ministry began in 1993, nearly 100 countries have received shoeboxes.


Email newsletter signup

People who pack shoeboxes usually include items such as small toys, school supplies, hygiene items, hard candy, socks and more.

In Suffolk, Southside Baptist Church and Nansemond River Baptist Church are acting as drop-off points for the shoeboxes. Boxes will be collected at both churches each day Nov. 15-22.

The Somerton Friends Meeting hosted a motorcycle ride in August to help raise money for its batch of shoeboxes. Members expect the $1,200 raised to buy enough gifts to fill about 40 shoeboxes and to pay the suggested $7 donation per box to help Samaritan’s Purse defray the costs of shipping.

Those who want to find out where their boxes are going can even print labels with a bar code that is attached to their email address. A few days before Christmas — or sometimes even on Christmas Day — donors receive an email letting them know which country received their boxes.

How to pack a shoebox

  1. Get your box: Use an empty shoe box (standard size) or a small plastic container. Shoebox-size plastic containers can be used by the recipients to carry water. You can wrap the box (lid separately), but wrapping is not required. Most important, pray for the child who will receive your gift.
  2. Boy or girl?: Determine whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the child’s age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14. Print out the appropriate label by downloading the artwork from the Operation Christmas Child website or picking up labels at a local participating church. Mark the correct age category on the label, and tape the label to the top of your box.
  3. Fill with gifts: Fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child. See below for gift suggestions.
  4. Include your donation: Donate $7 or more for each shoebox you prepare to help cover shipping and other project costs. You can write a check to Samaritan’s Purse (note “OCC” on memo line) and place it in an envelope on top of the gift items inside your box. If you or your family are preparing more than one shoe box, make one combined donation.
  5. Drop off at a local church: Place a rubber band around each closed shoebox and drop off at the closest collection center between Nov. 15 and 22.

Local collection centers

Southside Baptist Church

617 Carolina Road

Nov. 15: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Nov. 16: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Nov. 17: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 7 to 8 p.m.

Nov. 18: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Nov. 19: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Nov. 20: 9 a.m. to noon

Nov. 21: 8 a.m. to noon, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 22: 9 to 10 a.m.

Nansemond River Baptist Church

2896 Bridge Road

Nov. 15: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Nov. 16: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Nov. 17: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Nov. 18: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Nov. 19: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Nov. 20: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Nov. 21: 1 to 6 p.m.

Nov. 22: 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Gift ideas

  • Toys: Small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, small Etch A Sketch, toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries), Slinky
  • School supplies: Pens, pencils and sharpener, crayons or markers, stamps and ink pad sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books
  • Hygiene items: Toothbrush, toothpaste, mild bar soap (in a plastic bag), comb, washcloth, etc.
  • Other: Hard candy and lollipops (please double bag all candy), mints, gum, T-shirts, socks, ball caps; sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries)
  • A personal note: In a separate envelope, you may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. (If you include your name and address, the child may write back.)
  • Do not include: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans