Saturday, November 10, 2012

Operation Christmas Child

Our small group (and church) has been doing 40 Days in The Word by Rick Warren. The study goes through of a few of his methods for reading and studying the Bible. There was a big emphasis on Micah 6:8. For those of you that don't know or remember the verse, here it is for you:

He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. 
[Micah 6:8]

Part of the study was serving as a group. I was chosen as our group's "Champion" which meant that I had to organize the event. Really though, it was a group effort. Todd and I like to organize PB&J Parties to make bagged lunches for the homeless and hungry in our town. Ben and Lyndsey (members of our small group) have helped at both of our parties so far. For our Micah assignment, we wanted to do something new! I signed us up for Habitat for Humanity to help build a house but the earliest date we could sign up for was February 2013. So for something more tangible, we also decided to do Operation Christmas Child. Basically, you fill a shoebox with toys, hygiene items and school supplies for children in other countries whose families can't afford Christmas gifts. 

So last night we all went to one of my favorite stores, Target! We met by the entrance at the dollar aisle, where we stocked up. :) David and Melissa (also part of our small group) came and we had an honorary small group member, Fontaine (aka Ulysses). 

I guess before I go any further, I should also mention that each of us did a box except for Todd and I because we shared. Each box was designated boy or girl and then given an age group; 2-4, 5-9 or 10-13. Let's see if I get this right: Ben [boy, 5-9], Lyndsey [girl, 2-4], David [boy, 5-9], Melissa [girl, 5-9], Fontaine [boy, 2-4] and Todd/Lindsey [girl, 5-9].

Look at the super cute stuff I got for $1 each!!!

We all got a bunch of stuff from the dollar aisle. I guess my intention when we started was to document everything Todd and I put in our box... but that quickly stopped once I realized how much stuff was going to go in!

Next stop was school supplies. We made sure to get pencils, sharpeners, scissors, crayons and notebooks. Encourage those creative minds! (I got glitter crayons!!!)

After school supplies, we figured it was time to get our boxes so we would know for sure what would fit and how much. We each got a plastic shoebox instead of using a cardboard one at Lyndsey's great suggestion. This way, the families can reuse the box for a long time.

Seeing a theme for our girl's box? Yes, that's a lot of pink! For some reason a lot of the Hello Kitty stuff was cheap so our box started becoming a Hello Kitty box. (Much to Todd's delight.)

Then we stopped for some candy. You can only pack hard candy and gum. All food must be double bagged. I got some yummy bubble gum and David and Melissa got a large box of mini fruit flavored candy canes which we all shared. Thanks guys! :)

The toy section was next. The only rule was to not include anything fighting-related, especially since some of the countries the boxes are going to are experiencing or have experienced violence. We spent the most time here.

I snagged this adorable sock monkey for less than $3! I wanted one for myself but Fontaine took the only other for his box. (What a copy cat!)

Todd and Fontaine quickly grew bored... until they discovered their favorite aisle.

I think they are a bit big for those... but they had fun. :) Todd stayed there for quite awhile. I think he tried on every mask they offered. And I also think none of them fit.

Ben got bored eventually as well. I found the boys over in the gaming area.

Melissa and Lyndsey spent some time in the princess shelves. :)

Lyndsey found some more cute stuffies! There was a whole line of stuffed foods. I apologize for the blurriness of this picture but I was laughing pretty hard when I was taking it. See the donut's smile?

David also found a cute stuffie! Some lucky boy is going to have the most precious dog.


On the way to the hygiene items, we stopped at the party aisle for some cheap party favors to use as toys. (Another great suggestion by Lyndsey!) Todd nearly knocked the whole shelf down... okay, okay- not the whole shelf, just the plates... the paper ones.

That's what happens when you give a guy a mic! This picture is one of my favorites from the night. Typical Todd and Fontaine in the back, interviewing each other and in general, fooling around. David and Melissa doing what we are supposed to be doing. Lyndsey begging Ben to let her buy a tiara for her birthday. Ben behind me saying no. Me taking pictures.

We spent wayyy too long in the party section! We finally made it to hygiene. You are encouraged to pack hygiene supplies because most of these kids don't have access to this stuff. For them, it's actually exciting to get toothbrushes and toothpaste! We also grabbed bars of soap because you can't pack liquids. Todd had picked up a hairbrush in the dollar aisle and I got some hair ties, also in the dollar section. Check out the cute Hello Kitty stuff I got for hygiene!!!

Woohoo! So stoked for my box at this point. (It became "my" box shortly after starting because I picked most of the stuff out.) But technically speaking, "our" box is on the right and Fontaine's is on the left. See how he copied us with the sock monkey?!


After checkout, we dumped all our stuff on an empty table in the Target Starbucks to pack our boxes. Both Lyndsey and I came prepared with plastic baggies to double bag the food, soap and toothpaste. 

Lyndsey bought some rubber bands to adhere the lid to the box. We both brought scissors and tape to attach our labels to the lid. Todd and I purchased the shipping cost of $7 online before we left so that we can track our box and see where it goes. If you don't want to do that I think you just attach $7 cash in an envelope to go towards shipping.

The funny part is that you can totally tell who packed what box by the contents. :) Melissa had tons of princess and Disney stuff in her box.

David had an awesome box with Legos and a rubik's cube. Side note: I found these really fun Legos in the girl aisle; Lego Friends. I told Todd if we ever get our dream house, mine would have a legit Lego room with a whole city. I would include Lego Friends for sure.

David had so much to pack in his box that the lid was busting open! The poor doggie stuffed animal was smushed. It was so funny- it looked like the dog has to go to the bathroom!


For dinner we headed to Chik-fil-a for two reasons. Reason one being that they are a collection site for the boxes and reason two being it was in the same shopping center as the Target. The signs all said that you could get a free chicken sandwich for turning in a box by November 8th. When we saw the date we were so disappointed because it was November 9th! We missed the cutoff by one day! No worries though, the lady still gave us our free sandwich. :)

Of course, Todd and I used ours right away.

What a fun evening spent with friends, doing something to benefit someone else. Want to make your own box for Operation Christmas Child? There's still time! Check out the website here to get more information!

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