"It was the very first present I had ever received. It was the best day of my life."
~Tanya, Shoebox recipient
Operation Christmas Child has been a project for our family for several years. We've filled shoeboxes with gifts, returned them to church, which were then taken to a local drop off center. This year, our church became one of many drop off centers that opened last Monday, November 18th. My hubby and I volunteered some of our time, energy, and in some cases, "muscles." The first delivery we literally "hit the ground running" with 311 shoeboxes. But we got through it, and it paved the way for the rest of the week, which ends today.
Later today, 100+ cartons of shoeboxes will be transported to a designated collection location. Last night when we left, the total was 122 cartons filled with 1,808 shoeboxes. These cartons will be loaded with others in a semi tractor-trailer rig for delivery to an Operation Christmas Child processing center in North Carolina. There are eight processing centers in the US, where shoeboxes get inspected for harmful/hazardous items. Monetary contributions and donations defraying shipping costs are removed, and boxes are taped. Millions of shoeboxes get shipped for distribution to millions of children around the globe.
It's when shoebox gifts are given to children that the real blessings begin. I believe some quotes from shoebox recipients can express those blessings far better than anything I can say:
"It's hard to put into words what that box meant to me. It really changed my life." ~Lejla
"When I got my box, I wondered what I felt in my heart that made it beat so fast." ~Nastia
"I took each item out of my box one by one. I wanted to rejoice for everything." ~Andy
"When I got my shoe box, I heard the words I love you for the first time in my life." ~Dominika
If you packed a shoebox this year, or sometime in the past, you've been a blessing. Thank you. If you've never done it, keep it in mind for next year. I'm betting you'll feel the joy in a box!