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Operation Christmas Child Global Project - The Power of a Shoebox


An empty shoebox hardly garners any interest from most people, but when it is filled with items such as toys, pens, pencils, crayons, coloring books, hair bows, etc. it has the power to impact the lives of children all over the world.
The Good News Club at New Salem is an international club that studies the good deeds that missionaries and other people do all over the world. This club recently partnered with the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child Project in challenging New Salem Elementary to pack a shoe box for needy children. The school-wide goal was 15 boxes, one for each homeroom. To our amazement, a total of 53 boxes will be delivered to the Processing Center in Charlotte, NC the first week in December. Labels attached to each box will enable homeroom to track the final destination of their shoebox. The names of the countries where the shoeboxes are distributed will be posted on our world map located in the hallway near the entrance to the cafeteria. A picture and the address of our school was included in each box with the hopes that we may one day receive a letter or card from the recipient of this gift.
You may ask, how can a simple shoe box impact children from another country? One example shared on the OCC website is from outside of Manila where it smells so strongly of trash and cow dung at the big garbage dump that most people hold handkerchiefs to their noses to block some of the smell. No one wants to visit this area. Muck swallows shoes, leaving people barefoot in the smelly mess.

And yet there are people who live and work here. These people are lower-class Filipinos. They collect bottles and other pieces of trash to sell. Their houses sit right on the edge of the dump site and are made of trash. While most people crinkle their noses and want to leave, the dump people smile and laugh while the brown concoction on the ground squishes deeper in between their toes.

The children in this area are quiet but happy. Boys run shirtless through small patches of grass with a soccer ball. Girls watch and giggle in their crisp, white school blouses and plaid skirts. They’ve just finished a day of school and walked home under the hot and sticky June sun.

Today, the smiles are a little wider. On the walk home, the children cradle Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes underneath their elbows.

This was a special day at school, a day of surprises. Although the teachers had tried to keep it a secret, the children had found out that they would receive gifts, and they were excited. Before she received her shoe box, 8-year-old Joy listed the things she wanted. “School supplies … slippers … a pencil case … a pencil … anything that can be used for writing … and shoes.” She paused between each item as if she was afraid to say that she wanted more than one thing. Only after being prompted did she continue her list.
All of these are simple things that most American children take for granted. But in impoverished areas like this one, school supplies and basic clothing make a huge difference. “Education is the only way out,” said Marlin, pastor of the church that arranged the shoe box distribution at the school. “OCC will make a difference for them.” With new school supplies, the children will have more opportunities in class.

The New Salem Good News Club sends a BIG thanks to everyone who donated items for the shoeboxes and the money to ship the boxes all over the world. Without your help this international service learning project would have not been possible.


Here’s What New Salem Students Had To Say About This Experience:

“This was a great experience. It made me have chills to think about the smiles those kids will have on their faces when they get their first Christmas. It is amazing at how many people don’t know that God’s Son was born on this special day. These kids look at erasers, soap, toothpaste, pencils, a t-shirt, and much more and they have a smile on their face as we would have a smile at something much bigger. So just take a little time out of your day and pack a shoe box. If you pack one shoe box, you get one smile, 2 shoeboxes 2 smiles, 2 shoeboxes 3 smiles. Each shoebox you pack represents a good heart, a smile and a symbol of love.”
Carly Helms

“In class we have been collecting items for our Operation Christmas Child boxes. Did you know that there are children in the world that don’t get presents for Christmas? Yes, it’s true. Their parents don’t have enough money. That’s why we make these boxes to give them for Christmas. We send them across the world to boys and girls that don’t have much. We packed the box and I was in front. I got to help put stuff in the box. It turned out ours was a boys present. It is very heartwarming to make these presents for kids.”
Holly Williams


“I had fun time packing our shoebox for boys and girls. While I was helping I thought about who it might go to. Our box was stacked to the top with things and we still had things left. I hope the children that get the boxes will really like the things inside it. I wish poor kids could have a Christmas like we do but at least they will get some things in the shoeboxes that we are sending them. So I really hope they enjoy the toys and supplies we packed for them.”


Written by: Tammy Parker, 1st Grade Teacher
Posted: Dec 02, 2011 by Gina James

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