Operation Christmas Child – The Samaritans shoe box appeal
So this time last year, I was feeling a tad emotional, I can’t remember for what reason exactly (does a girl ever really need a reason?)
Anyhow, I watched this incredible youtube clip of a classroom full of children in Africa opening their Samaritans shoe box appeal Christmas boxes.
It was the most wonderful, heartbreaking, happy, sad, eye-opening clip I have ever seen. The pure pure joy over pens, paper, socks, badges, necklaces, stickers, dolls, toy cars etc really touched a nerve. Gorgeous white pearly smiles and screams of utter excitement highlighting the absolute core of this project. And through my snot and tears I promised that I would get involved with a shoebox appeal next year.
The year had flown in, as always, and I’m super proud to say that I stayed true to my snot-filled word and got involved with the Operation Christmas Child Samaritans Purse Shoe box appeal 2015.
So why did I choose the Samaritans shoe box appeal? Well, firstly, I think the Samaritans are an awesome charity, totally understated yet incredibly valuable in today’s society. They ask for nothing and yet, in return help, council and work jolly darn hard for thousands of people in the UK and abroad on a daily basis. I was more than happy to support their particular branch of this amazing appeal.
I decided to go big so I ordered and paid for 50 shoe boxes online.
My theory being that, if I had the actual official boxes, they would be easier for myself and more appealing for others to fill. I then said a little prayer that I would be able to find 50 willing families to help stuff these boxes full of scrummy delights for the children in Africa and I left the rest with the big man upstairs (that’s God btw).
I was totally blown away. A little Facebook shout-out followed by a tiny talk at church and BOOM all my boxes were gone! There was literally a queue at my front door of people who wanted one, two, three, four boxes to fill. I ran out quicker than I could supply them or have imagined, so much so that next year I’m going even BIGGER and ordering at least 100. The enthusiasm from children, grown-ups and families was pretty overwhelming. Who would have thought filling a shoe box could bring so much joy eh!?
So if you’ve never heard of the Samaritans shoe box appeal before and it’s something you might like to get involved in next year, here’s the low down;
You need an empty medium sized box, you can buy these online at Samaritans Purse OR just a normal sized box from your recent shoe shopping spree will do (you must wrap it if you use your own). You need a make a label, either for a boy or a girl and then choose your age category; 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14. Pop the label on the top of the shoe box (these are downloadable online but can be handmade also).
Now comes the fun bit…the shopping! Fill your box to the brim with lovely items including fun toys, school supplies and hygiene bits. You can also include a WOW toy like a doll for a girl or a football with a pump for a boy. One of my lovely neighbours filled hers to absolute bursting with the most gorgeous girl gifts. Being a mum of boys she went to town on girly, lovely things and I have to say I had big box envy when she left…kinda wanted to add it to my own Christmas list!
You can also add a letter to your child and a picture of your family to give your shoebox an even more personal touch.
Once the box is filled, add your £3 shipping donation which secures the transport fee to Africa. This can either be done online OR added via cheque or cash into your shoebox in a marked envelope. If you buy your boxes online you can download the FOLLOW YOUR BOX option and see where your box is heading to and when it arrives.
And the final thing, say a little prayer for the child that gets your box. The Samaritans are Christian run organization hence the throw back to Christianity. You might not be a praying kinda gal or guy but, you know what, for this I think it’s worth all the prayer you can muster. You can say just a little one liner, like…’I pray this box goes to the perfect little boy/girl’, simples. And there you have it, BOOM, done. Easy peasy (even the prayer bit).
And now for the drop off. The website asks for your postcode and then lists numerous collection points in your area. I was lucky enough to get a call from a volunteer called Sara at the drop off depot in Lancaster. The system had notified her that I had ordered 50 boxes and she came and collected them all from our house. Pretty amazing considering Chez Cribb has been plagued with rotten sinusitis this week!
So there you have it, the step by step guide of how to get involved in the Samaritans shoe box appeal. It might be too late for this year’s boxes, but don’t fear, it’ll be Christmas 2016 before you know it (what did she say!?!)
….and then you have no excuse
(and if you would like to make a donation to the Samaritans shoe box appeal, following this link, there is a comprehensive list of places that need your help the most)