I'm a grandmother, a retired teacher, an avid reader who loves historical re-enactment, English Country Dance, writing and Op Shopping. My business www.StepIntoHistory.com.au is designed to help children experience history through school incursions.
Published April 4th 2013
Update June 27th 2018
The warehouse is no longer at Yeronga and may be moving again so check drop off points.
Update November 3rd 2015
Collection points currently open till early December.
Update October 19th 2014
Yeronga Warehouse, Hyde rd is open for donations or help with packing. Mon, Wed, Thurs Fri 9.00 to 3.00. Later hours from the 27th Oct.
Update September 17th 2014
Collection starts in October. To see where you can leave a box. www.samaritanspurse.org.au/drop-off-points
Warning: Can be addictive.
Over the years I have supported many charities, but the one I am totally addicted to is Operation Christmas Child.
Run by Samaritan's Purse, this charity sends a shoebox full of goodies to children in need. Australian boxes usually go to South East Asia.
Contributors are encouraged to fill a shoebox from a list of categories: All items must be new. * Something to love - a soft toy. * Something for hygiene - toothbrush, soap, face cloth, brush. * Something for school - exercise book, lead pencils, rubber, sharpener, coloured pencils, sticky tape, glue stick. * Something to wear - shorts, t shirts thongs, caps and beanies. * Something to play with - tennis ball, small cars or dolls, sewing kits, mouth organ, recorder, puzzles, sunglasses, masks, marbles, plastic animals. * A Carry Bag to carry it home in
There are strict rules about what can't be included - anything that can leak or melt (so no crayons, toothpaste, glue, paint, play-doh), nothing with religious symbols or verses, nothing scary or war like e.g. clothing with camouflage design or dice or cards. See web site for full instructions, but be sure to look at Australian rules - US and UK rules are different to ours.
The website has many lovely stories about the joy of the recipients, but my favourite story is from a woman who was there during the distribution in Vietnam. She told how a mother of one of the children recognised her the next day and kept saying delightedly "All new. All new"
Christmas! I hear you say. That's months away! Ahh, but your box needs to be ready by late September in order for all boxes to be checked and packed for delivery. September is only 4 months away.
If you start looking now, you will have time to find amazing bargains. It is far better to get a quality article on sale than to spend the same amount on cheap rubbish that will break or wear out quickly. Keep in mind some of these children may never receive new gifts again.
If you are canny and love to shop for bargains, you can fill a box for under $30 or less without resorting to junk. I have often found things cheaper than this especially things like soap, combs, hair ties and toys. For example, supermarket shopping bag $1 (Aldi 89c), soap 50c, face washer $1, tooth brush $2, hair brush $2, t shirt $4, shorts or skirt $4, undies/socks $5 pack, exercise book 60c, coloured pencils $3, lead pencils $2, rubber 50c, sharpener 50c, tennis ball $1, mouth organ $2, 2 Hot Wheels cars $4, and soft toy $2-10 (Beanie Babies are the perfect size to fit in). The challenge is to fit it all in one A4 sized shoebox.
More than you want to spend? Then you can donate any of the above items for fillers. Donations are stored to add to shoeboxes with very little in them. Always desperately needed are good quality lead pencils, coloured pencils, rubbers, sharpeners, exercise books and clothes. In some areas, children may not attend school without supplies.
Can you knit or crochet?
Contributions of shorts, skirts and dresses, beanies, carry bags, marbles bags and pencil bags are always welcome. Some volunteers spend all year sewing simple draw string bags from remnants. Some make simple clothes. Some ladies make dozens and dozens of knitted toys or beanies. Others collect fabric and wool for others to use.
At www.operationchristmaschild.org.au you will find list of drop off points and you can email for free resources. In Brisbane the warehouse is at Yeronga. Other collection points can be found on their website.
Last but certainly not least is cash. Each box costs about $9 to process and be delivered. Only a small proportion of the boxes received include money so any monetary donations are gratefully received.
My old primary school used to do this. Every Christmas we would decorate shoe box, fill it with non-perishable goods, then place them at the alter in church, where they would be delivered to children in third world countries.