How to Teach Your Child About Giving Fill a Shoebox

Letting your child be a part of filling shoeboxes for needy children in foreign lands is a wonderful way to teach them about giving.

The Shoebox ministry is part of Operation Christmas Child founded by Samaritan's Purse under the direction of Franklin Graham. The Shoebox ministry is a wonderful opportunity to teach your children about giving. If you are unfamiliar with this project, here is all you have to do.

Take a minute to explain to your children that there are children around the world who do not get Christmas presents, birthday presents, and who do not even have homes as we know them. Together you are going to send a present to one or more of those children. You can go to the dollar store or Wal-Mart or K-Mart and buy small toys like balls, a small doll, a stuffed animal, a yo-yo, a Slinky, jacks, play-doh, a jump rope and any other small toys. Then get some school supplies like pencils, crayons, a small pencil sharpener, blunt scissors, paper, glue sticks and markers. Next, you want to visit the cosmetics aisle and get toothbrushes, toothpaste and combs. To fill in the little corners of your box, buy some socks, underwear, jewelry, hair barrettes, hair ribbons or bows. With your guidance, let your child be involved in picking what goes into the box. They may want to use some of their own money.

Go home and wrap some gift wrap around each shoe box. Wrap the lid separately because each box will be inspected at the drop off sites. Use a typical size shoe box or a plastic box that is typical shoe box size. Fill that box to the top with gifts to delight a child. You can throw in some hard candy to fill the little nicks and crannies. Do not put anything liquid in your box, no war toys and don't put in any candy that will melt. The boxes may be months in transit so you do not want to use anything perishable. Make the check out to Samaritan's Purse. If you make your donation online, you can print a label off the website. You will then receive an email telling you the destination of your gift along with information about the ministry in that country. This gives you another opportunity to talk to your child about this gift they gave, where it went and how blessed they are. If you do not have a label, mark the box for either boy or girl, ages 2-4 years, 5-9 years or 10-14 years old depending on what you purchased.

Each box will be opened at a drop off center and Gospel books will be put in each box. You see on top of delighting a child with a gift, each box is treated as an opportunity to give these children hope through Jesus Christ. The children will be invited to take part in a discipleship program with Bible lessons to help them become followers of Jesus Christ - the greatest gift they can ever receive. Lastly, pray for the child that will receive the boxes you and your family pack. God is the real power behind Operation Christmas Child. John 14:13 says, "Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son". So, let's pray for these children and let God be glorified as His work is accomplished.

Many churches throughout the country participate in this project, but if you do not know where to take your boxes, email Samaritan's Purse at to find out where there is a drop station near you. This is the 16th year that shoe boxes will be handed out to hurting children all over the world and the stories of those receiving them are heartwarming and often heart wrenching. Filling a shoebox is a worthwhile project to get involved in and one that can teach your child about giving, about prayer and about other countries. The national collection week is November 16-23 so plan now to fill some shoe boxes with your love.