Guys, it is officially collection week! That means this is the week to bring your packed boxes to the collection center in your area. But I not here to repeat myself, I am here to tell you a story.
What do you think of when I say – “The impact of a shoebox?”
I think most would answer they think of children receiving boxes and how it can impact their lives. This is beautiful because it is true ❤ There are so many stories of how a shoebox can impact a child and even more of how the discipleship program impacts their community.
But I want to focus on the other side – the one that people may not realize. Not only can a shoe box impact the child who receives it, but it can also impact the packer.
I have been packing shoeboxes for kids since I was 2 years old. Every year, my sister and I packed a box for a child in our age range. It was a beautiful reminder to us that we were buying gifts for another person. It taught me the importance of giving.
Even when we “passed” the last age range, we still continued to pack shoeboxes. At one of our packing parties with our friends, we had a guest speaker. That day changed my perspective on packing shoe boxes. She told us that the age range that got the least amount of boxes was boys 10-14 and then girls 10-14.
This shocked me because I knew that in many cases, these were the kids taking care of their younger siblings, providing for their families, and taking on family responsibilities. To know that they were the ones getting fewer boxes, it just stabbed my heart. My sister and I made it our mission the next year to specifically create boxes for these children.
Our love for Operation Christmas Child continued to grow so much that eventually, we took over organizing the yearly packing party that we did with our homeschool group. There was no doubt about it, each year brought more excited kids to pack boxes. Some years we had fewer volunteers than in previous years, but the number of people helping didn’t change the fact that everyone there was excited to pack boxes; creating a joyful atmosphere.
While the party itself was always successful, I can’t tell you how many years we sorted through our donations the week before and thought we wouldn’t have enough gifts to even make 50 boxes. But every year, without fail, somehow our group has packed over 200 boxes filled with stuff. It is amazing. ❤
But the most impactful thing that happened during these parties was not packing 200 boxes, it was seeing kids and their families gathering around the box they packed to pray over it and the child who was going to receive it. Prayer is something we have always emphasized and to see kids and adults alike taking that seriously, brings tears to my eyes every time I see it.
Packing boxes all these years has changed me. It taught me to care deeply about the person receiving my gift. I now understand that it so much more than just throwing items in a box. Each item I choose is going to be given to a specific child with specific needs. And the child is not a fictional character living in another world, but rather a real child with desires and longings just like me. By packing a box, I get to impact a kid that could be my brother or sister and show them the love of Christ. Isn’t that beautiful?
I can confidently say that packing shoe boxes had impacted me in a positive way and I know that I am not the only one who would say this.
This is the truth: When you pack a shoebox, not only does it impact the child, but it also impacts you.
Even if you don’t pack a shoebox this Christmas season, I would encourage you to find ways to impact the families within your community. I believe you will find that it will bless you as well. ❤
Have a wonderful week friends!