Recently, a small group of us from Oakville met at a Church early morning to load bright red and green shoe boxes onto a rented truck. 2003 of them in total. Not bad for this community. Shoe boxes with no shoes. It was a short time of lifting and packing spent in support of a Samaritan’s Purse initiative called Operation Christmas Child– OCC.
The project began in October of 1990, when Dave and Jill Cooke of Wrexham, Wales, watched a television broadcast about Romanian orphanages. The Cooke’s wanted to do something to help the children living in the orphanages. A convoy of nine trucks was filled with medical supplies, food, clothing, and Christmas gifts. The trucks were driven into Romania marking the small beginnings of what is now the world’s largest children’s Christmas program.
In 1993, Samaritan’s Purse, adopted Operation Christmas Child as a project. They first delivered gift-filled shoe boxes to children in war-torn Bosnia and since then more than 77 million shoe box gifts have brought a message of hope, joy, and love to children in over 130 countries. Last season, 640,569 shoe boxes were collected in Canada and distributed to children in more than 15 countries.”
That’s a lot of shoes without a home. It’s great to be a part of something bigger. 130 countries and 77 million boxes. Amazing.
My family – my wife, Elizabeth, and children Spencer and Victoria – came along. And we all pitched in. There were a couple of women who were leading the charge and who were responsible for the labelling, logistics and planning of the collection and move. They did an amazing job. A little here and a lot more over there.
I can’t say it was a fun day, but we all left feeling good, satisfied and fulfilled. It was a different kind of family fun really. Spencer and Victoria ended up playing in the Church gym while we unloaded the truck at the depot in Burlington.
We all played our part in an operation that is massive in tone and scope. It’s based on the idea of giving. Simple generosity. Giving gifts to children.
There are wonderful components to it from both perspectives. Picking out the gifts and receiving them each side has its grace like aspects built in.
Having our children with us was important. Two hours of our Saturday morning together as a family. Helping others. We weren’t at the local hockey arena, but instead we came together and were a part of a different kind of team.
My holiday wish is that each of you is able to find time as a family to give freely this holiday season. Every small act, after all, is a large step towards positive change.