Have you ever thought about your approach to the packing shoeboxes for the Operation Christmas Child project? Quite often I find that the approach to packing shoeboxes is to select items at random without much thought given to what might actually be useful. I’ve included a list of items that you should consider when packing shoeboxes for girls.
- Menstrual pads: Every box sent to a girl in the 10-14 age group should have a pack or two of pads. Girls in underdeveloped locations will often skip or drop out of school during their menstrual periods because they have no way to contain the flow, which is really embarrassing. If you plan on including these in your box (which I pray you do), make sure you include a pack of underwear and disposable cleansing wipes. (Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid)
- Disposable cleansing wipes: (Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid)
- Pack of underwear: you can find packs of fives or so. Cotton panties are the easiest to wash, and the sizes correspond to pant sizes. (Walmart, Target)
- Pack of socks: you can’t have too many socks (Walmart, Target, Macy’s)
- Pack of basic tshirts: clothes are essential, and you know how helpful it is to have multiples of an item so you don’t have to wash the same shirt all the time. (Macy’s, Walmart, Sam’s, JcPenny, Target)
- Facial wipes: Boxes need to include these and not just hand wipes. Germs and dirt rest in pores and lines on the face, and oil often gets in the eyes. Facial wipes help to keep the face clear of germs, dirt, and oil. You can find these in packs, or you can also find them in small, plastic containers at Walmart. (Walmart, Target, Sephora, Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid)
- Lightweight dresses: lightweight, modest dresses are easy to pack and fit nicely into the shoeboxes. Maxis, shift dresses, skater dresses, sweater dresses, and A-line dresses are pretty and modest. (Nordstrom Rack, Target, T.J. Maxx, Kohl’s)
- Two or three pairs of flats: most kids in impoverished places only have one pair of shoes if that. Shoes protect the feet from harmful things on the ground, and it’s good to have some simple slip-ons to go to class and walk around in. (Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, T.J. Maxx)
- Books: You might be concerned about sending books in English to a child who probably doesn’t speak English. This is a valid concern, but another equally valid concern is the fact that the time to learn another language is during the early childhood years. Kids pick up languages better than adults do. Also, kids who learn a second language do better in school than kids who only know one language. Reading is essential for developing the mind. There may also be someone near your child who knows enough English to read to him or her. If you are uncomfortable sending books in English, ask God to show you which language to include, or maybe get a book with lots of pictures. Don’t leave out God’s sovereignty here. Literacy is crucial for survival. (Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million)
- Literacy Material: Literacy is crucial for survival. I know, I said it right before this section. Illiteracy is what keeps people in poverty, and if you want the gifts in your box to keep on giving, then include tools that will help a child learn to read and write. Literacy for girls is so important, as girls are overlooked in many countries and cultures. Just look at the slow progression of women’s rights in Western civilization. This material would include spelling flashcards, reading workbooks, writing workbooks, basic vocabulary books, index cards, notebooks, writing utensils, and toys that are educational. (Barnes & Noble or Books-a-Million for workbooks, Walmart or Target for school supplies)
- Mathematics Material: You don’t have to know English in order to learn how to add. Math is a universally-known concept that develops the mind. It helps kids acquire critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, and logical reasoning. These include math flashcards, workbooks, fun kits that teach kids how to count, calculator, protractor, pencils, graph paper, etc. (Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Office Max, Walmart, Target)
- Something that smells good: smell triggers one’s memory better than any other sense, and when a child encounters the same smell later on in life, she will remember the joy of opening a gift on Christmas. Bar soaps are the best items of this sort to pack because they aren’t liquid and they fit nicely into the boxes.(Anthropologie, Target, Home Goods)
I hope these give you some gift ideas to include in your shoeboxes.