By Steff WillisMonday 26 Sep 2022Station NewsReading Time: 3 minutes
Time is running out to pack a shoebox filled with gifts to be sent around the world this Christmas!
Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organisation. The gift-filled shoeboxes are sent to local partners around the world that use them as a means of reaching out to children in their own communities with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
After receiving gift-filled shoeboxes, many children are invited to participate in The Greatest Journey discipleship program and millions of children each year are making decisions to follow Christ.
In 2021, Australia and New Zealand sent 210,182 shoeboxes to Cambodia, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Madagascar, Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Globally, there were more than 10.5 million shoeboxes collected and sent to over 100 countries and territories.
96five listeners expressed their generosity last year by providing a record number of gift-filled shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse to distribute overseas. By the end of October, more than 1340 shoeboxes were dropped-off at our studios.
96five is proud to be partnering with Operation Christmas Child and to be once again acting as a drop off location.
You can help children like Gladys
Nine-year-old Gladys lives in Benin, West Africa. She flashes a big smile, recounting the day she received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift at her local church. The special items inside included a blanket folded neatly and arranged amid school supplies, a flashlight that her father needed, and other cherished items. Opening the shoebox gift was like opening up a new chapter of life for her and her family.
Gladys recounts the storm in her heart in the year leading up to the day she received her shoebox gift. She often felt lonely and even isolated, and these emotions surfaced inside her home in battles with her parents and siblings—which created even more distance from the people who loved her.
Gladys had a difficult time conceiving of an all-powerful God who could meet all of her needs, including the of peace she longed to have in her heart.
These are important truths Gladys learned about on the afternoon of the Operation Christmas Child outreach event. She was surprised to receive her very own shoebox gift—a gesture of love and generosity from across the globe that opened up her heart to God and His Kingdom.
Benin’s proud history as a kingdom is well-known by Benin’s grade-school children, so the idea of God’s Kingdom immediately piqued Gladys’ attention during the outreach event.
“They talked about the Kingdom of God,” Gladys recounted. “I understood then that God has a kingdom. He is inviting me into His Kingdom. And I received Him into my heart.”
How to pack a shoebox
- SHOEBOX: Order your pre-printed shoeboxes online or use a regular size shoebox with lid no larger than an A4 page.
- GIFTS: Choose a boy or girl and age group (2-4, 5-9 or 10-14) and fill your shoebox with gifts.
- DONATE: A donation of $10 per box is essential to cover shipping and other project costs. For easiest processing, you can give online through operationchristmaschild.org.au, or you can give by completing the form in the ‘How to Pack’ brochure and enclose in your shoebox gift. If you use the online option, you can ‘Follow Your Box’ and discover the destination of your gift.
- LABEL: Every shoebox gift must be clearly labelled. Visit the Donations & Labels page at operationchristmaschild.org.au to order your labels when you make your $10 donation, or use the label included in The ‘How to Pack’ brochure. Please ensure the label clearly indicates if you packed for a boy or girl and which age category, then stick it on your shoebox!
- PRAY: Most importantly, pray for the child who will receive your shoebox gift and for their family and community to be transformed by the Gospel.
- DROP-OFF: Take your shoebox gift to a local drop-off location. Visit the OCC website to find one near you or drop your shoebox to 96five.
For ideas on what to pack and how you can get involved, click here. 96five has empty shoeboxes available that you can collect from our studios.
Drop off your shoeboxes to 96five
96five is once again a drop-off location. You can drop off your gift-filled shoeboxes at the 96five studios at 81 Mina Parade, Alderley, Qld, weekdays only from 9am – 3pm through until 31st October 2022.
Feature image: Ken, Nicky, Steff, Arthur, Tim, Deanne Laurent from Operation Christmas Child and Georgia.