BUT... how I got started and still a HUGE part of my passion for Operation Christmas Child is having KIDS pack shoeboxes FOR KIDS. I started with my own children. I wanted them to care about others and WANT to give. I wanted them to be more passionate about the Gospel message.
So much of what we do as parents, Sunday School teachers, club leaders, etc in teaching our kids the value of giving is somewhat abstract to the child. Even when we share missionary stories with the children, collecting coins is not personal to the child. It is almost detached.
But packing a shoebox is PERSONAL! When a child packs a shoebox they learn that other children in the world may never have received a gift, EVER. That the child may never see a dentist and is glad for a toothbrush and toothpaste. That this child may be rejoicing at receiving school supplies and the opportunity to go to school. As they pack practical items in the ONE gift this child may ever receive they learn about their own blessings and within them grows a desire to give and share.
When they pack a shoebox, the child can't help but think about the child who will receive the gift... you can share with the child who is GIVING about how they are partnering with the local church or missionary so that the Gospel message will go with the box. You can PRAY for the child, that they would receive Christ. That God would USE their gift to bring MANY to Christ. As they write a letter or note, they can express God's love and their care.
Shoeboxes are REAL. They are such a tangible way to show God's love to the child RECEIVING the shoebox... but it is also a TANGIBLE way to give and to participate in missions.
Oh... and I mentioned Veggie Tales. Didn't I??? Well, when I think of kids and Operation Christmas Child I also can't help but think about some famous partners with OCC, VeggieTales. Once again they are partnering with Operation Christmas Child to share about the ministry of Samaritan's Purse in reaching children with the Gospel of Christ in a simple shoebox.