As we near the holiday season, charities will once again begin to vie for your attention. From bell ringers to homeless shelters, food pantries to clothes closets, there are a great many charities that deserve consideration when deciding where to donate your money or time. Many people have a certain charity to which they donate yearly during the holidays, while other people prefer to have hands-on experiences by volunteering at local shelters or kitchens. Some people do not reach out to help others at all, and I believe they miss a great opportunity to better themselves as well as those around them. If you are someone who has not taken the time to engage in charity, I would challenge you to make that effort this year.
There are many ways to help others, and one of the organizations that I support is Samaritan’s Purse, and their Operation Christmas Child campaign. The basic idea is that people purchase small gifts, school supplies, socks, or any number of other small items that would benefit or entertain someone in a poor area abroad. These items are then placed in gender-specific shoeboxes, which SP deliveries to poor areas world-wide. Along with the shoeboxes, they present the gospel to box recipients. This is a pretty simple concept, but the scope of the operation is huge, with shoeboxes being delivered to nearly 75 countries each year.
Something else I found out about OCC this year is that they are providing discipleship materials to leaders in the areas where the boxes are being distributed. The materials provided are 12 lessons, collectively titled The Greatest Journey. Use of these lessons helps those children who make decisions for Christ begin to learn and live out their faith.
I would encourage anyone who is looking for a way to reach out this holiday season to consider making up a shoebox (or several), and brightening the day of a child who likely has little to nothing. If you have children, get them involved as a way to plant seeds of giving in their hearts. There are many drop-off locations in the KC metro (and nationwide, if you aren’t local to us). You can find more info at the links below. -B