It’s definitely never too early to start thinking about how to pay it forward this holiday season. Operation Christmas Child is a worldwide organization (run by Samaritan’s Purse) delivering shoebox gifts to children in need all over the world.
From May 1 to June 2, AllFreeSewing.com is making it our mission to collect 1,000 homemade pillow cases to donate to Operation Christmas Child. Learn more about our Sew-A-Thon.
We’re celebrating with the Operation Christmas Child Pillowcase Sew-A-Thon Grand Prize Giveaway. No donation required to enter, but you can get extra entries if you donate a homemade pillowcase. Learn more about the Grand Prize Giveaway.
Betsy Burnett, Operation Christmas Child’s Area Coordinator for Three Rivers, IL, said “The goal is to not only bless a child in need with school supplies, personal care items, small toys and more, but to show God’s love in a tangible way to those hurting.”
“As a crafter, there are so many things you can make to put into a shoebox. Washcloths, jump ropes, toys, clothing, and more! When you create or make something, I believe you are sharing a part of your heart. What better place to share that part of your heart than with a child in need?” – Betsy Burnett
Burnett, known online as the #CrazyShoeboxLady, shared her Operation Christmas Child experiences with us.
Operation Christmas Child: Meet the #CrazyShoeboxLady
What makes you passionate about working with OCC?
I first heard about Operation Christmas Child from a friend. My oldest son was a baby at the time, so we packed one shoebox gift as the beginning of a Christmas tradition for our family. As we added more children we, added more boxes, til one day my then 3-year old daughter found some brand new toys free at a garage sale. I had told her “no” that we didn’t need any more toys when she replied, “But Mommy we can put them into shoeboxes!” It was then I realized what made this project so special. Not only were we helping a child in need, but by helping to fill a shoebox gift, my children’s lives were changing as well; they were learning about giving and showing compassion, and even at a young age it was making an impression on them.
Can you explain what usually goes into a shoebox, and where they end up?
You start with just a regular ole’ shoebox. Some people wrap them or paint them to look pretty. You then decide if you want to pack for a boy or a girl, and what age group: 2-4 years old, 5-9 years old, or 10-14 years old. Next, you fill that shoebox with gifts: School Supplies (like markers and crayons, pencils, pens and notebooks), Personal Care Items (soap, washcloth, comb, toothbrush) and Small toys (a ball, a jumprope, a doll or car, stuffed animal, and even clothing items like t-shirts, socks, hats).
It’s amazing what you can fit into a shoebox! I will add a personal note to a child just wishing them well and a photo of our family so they know who packed their gift, then add $7 for shipping your box and it’s ready to go! (Please make sure there is nothing liquid, or fragile in your shoebox, and no war related toys.)
Shoebox gifts are packed by individuals and groups and then brought to a drop-off location during National Collection Week the Third week of November (which this year is November 14-21). The drop off locations collect the boxes and bring them to a Collection Center that ships them one of several processing centers. At the processing center they are prepared for shipment around the world. There are over 150 different countries your shoebox gift can go to.
What’s a touching moment you’ve experienced?
This past June, I was invited to participate in a distribution trip in Paraguay. At one of the distributions a mom came up to one of our team holding a bunch of pencils in a rubber band. She asked if “all of these pencils were really for her child?” she was assured that they were.
The mother left with tears in her eyes over her child receiving such a special gift. A bundle of pencils that would have cost maybe $1 here in the States, but to that mom the gift was priceless because it was supplies for her child for school! We have been given so much, I am thankful to be able to give back and encourage others to do the same through Operation Christmas Child.
How can our readers get involved?
To start, readers can check out the Operation Christmas Child website. There they will find shoebox stories, information on how to pack a shoebox gift, find the nearest drop-off location, have free resources sent to them and more! Friend Operation Christmas Child on Facebook.
Crafts that give back!
Plus, Betsy shared easy crafts perfect for OCC shoeboxes! Check out her tutorials:
- Washcloth “Boo Boo” Bunnies
- DIY Jump Rope and DIY Koosh Ball
- DIY Spinning Top
- DIY Roll-Up Checkerboard Tutorial
Enter for your chance to win 1 Bucilla Felt Christmas Christmas Whimsy Ornament Kit, 1 Bucilla Felt Christmas Ugly Sweaters Ornaments Kit, 1 Bucilla Felt Christmas ‘A Season to Believe’ DIY Stocking Kit, 1 Bucilla Felt Christmas ‘Caroling Santa’ DIY Stocking Kit, 1 Bucilla Felt Christmas ‘Two Turtle Doves’ DIY Stocking Kit, and 1 Plaid Tote Bag. The deadline to enter is June 2, 2017, at 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern Time.
Earn an extra entry by donating a homemade pillowcase to AllFreeSewing’s Pillowcase Sew-A-Thon for Operation Christmas Child!
Help us reach our goal of 1,000 homemade pillowcases for kids in need around the world! Read more about our charity drive running May 1 – June 2, 2017.
Have you ever crafted for a cause? (If so, tell us about it!)
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