Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child

Have you ever wondered what happens to the Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes once they leave your Church?  This year some of us found out first hand by volunteering to help out at the Peasmarsh Warehouse just outside Guildford.

When the shoeboxes arrive at the Warehouse they are piled up ready for checking.  The volunteers who check the boxes are given very clear instructions about handling and checking the boxes.  The boxes are altered as little as possible – what is in a box is what the donor wanted to send and this is respected.  However, each box should also be a “fair” box for the recipient and should have at least one thing to play with, something to keep the child warm, a soft toy to love, one toiletry item, stationery & a few sweets.  And, of course, anything on the “banned” list has to be removed.

When the box has been checked, the rubber band is put inside the box and the box lid taped down.  The next time the box will be opened is when the child who receives it opens it in Kyrgyzstan.  Why does the rubber band get put inside the box?   So that when the child has undone the tape and opened the box, they have something to keep the lid on with!

If there is a tracking bar code, then this gets secured to the top of the box with another elastic band so that it stays with the box.  The checked boxes are then taken over to a row of tables where they are piled up ready for packing into large cardboard boxes for distribution.  This is carefully done so that all the small shoeboxes go in the same box, all the medium sized go together, etc. so that the children in one place all receive similar sized shoeboxes.

Nothing is wasted.  The items that had to be taken out of boxes as they couldn’t be sent to Kyrgyzstan were put to good use – some things would be sold to raise money to send more boxes, others things were donated to other good causes who needed the items.

It was a very worthwhile and satisfying experience.  Everyone was very friendly, everyone was smiling and there was always someone on hand if there was a query over anything.  A couple of the ladies had been out to Kyrgyzstan with the shoeboxes and told some first-hand tales of the children receiving the boxes over lunch. Sadly, there is a growing need for more shoeboxes all around the world, but each one means so much more to a child than just the contents – they discover that somewhere, someone cares about them.

Our Theme for 2017

‘‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Matthew 25:40