CHARITY: Samaritan's Purse - Operation Christmas Child
This year we decided to take part in Samaritan’s Purse - Operation Christmas Child. This involves filling a shoe box with toys and other treats to be sent to a child in a poverty in a foreign country.
I wasn’t sure if my children, aged 4 and 3, would be old enough to understand the concept of Operation Christmas Child, but I thought it would be worth a try. So we got our boxes and had a chat about what it all means.
I explained that whilst they were very excited about Christmas (and all the presents that Father Christmas would bring…if they were well behaved!) that there were some children in the world who didn’t have any toys and wouldn’t get any Christmas presents because their families didn’t have enough money to buy them. My pair decided they would like to help others enjoy some of the magic of Christmas by each sending a box full of gifts for 2 children.
It may be worth noting that whilst the Samaritan’s is a Christian Organisation, anyone can take part in Operation Christmas Child and you don’t need to be religious. We are not, and so for us there was no religious angle to our discussions.
Another wonderful outcome of our doing the Samaritan’s Purse - Operation Christmas Child boxes has been the many interesting conversations that have been started. My children have been excited choosing things for “the children who don’t have toys” (as they say) to make them smile, and this has also helped me to explain how some children have very little food to eat, and they might not have clean water, and how they (and we) need money to buy things etc. My 4 (nearly 5) year old son especially has been thinking about what it all means as all sorts of questions have popped into his mind at unexpected moments!
I think the whole process has boggled my children’s naive little minds a bit. They are so sheltered and privileged, and I think (I hope) this process has really helped them start to understand how lucky they are. That, in itself, has been priceless.
So the photo below shows what we put in our Samaritan’s Purse - Operation Christmas Child boxes. We chose to do them for children aged 2-4 (as this is our age bracket). We did one girl box and one boy box (as that is what my pair are too!). I would estimate that we spent €15 (maximum) on the contents of each box, plus the suggested £5 donation.
My children also each drew a card for the child who will receive their box, and we wrote a little note inside:
The Samaritan’s Purse - Operation Christmas Child is such a wonderful thing to take part in. I have certainly enjoyed it as much as the children. And will continue to enjoy the conversations that I have no doubt will continue as a consequence. Particularly, we look forward to learning which country our boxes went to.
Of course we have done this from France. Near where I am based, in the suburbs of Toulouse there is an English church (Church 31) who organise the distribution and collection of the boxes here each year, and they have also arranged for them all to be taken to the UK to a drop off point next week. So if you are in France too, you would just need to find a way to get your box to the UK (or one of the other countries with drop off locations - see the Samaritan’s website below).
If you would also like to do a Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child, box, then you can find all the information that you need here: https://www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child
We will certainly be making this a Christmas tradition in our house.
Why don’t you join us this year (there is still a little time), but if not, there is always next year.
I will be sure to post a reminder on the Five Little Stars Facebook page when we get our boxes next year.