Mary Shares on Her Operation Christmas Child Packing Experience

Joseph and my time at Operation Christmas Child was so exciting. I loved to think about how those boxes would bring HUGE smiles to the children receiving them. It was great to see boxes with notes. There were many “Ahh, look at this note!” moments to show the rest of the team an adorable note. Each was written with a lot of love. My other favorite was to see the boxes that were stuffed full.

I really enjoyed working with Joseph all the days too. When the brothers get married, it’s rare to get to spend that much time one on one with them like that! We both had fun getting acquainted with each step of the process. I think my favorite part was packing the shoeboxes into the box they’d ship in. It was a fun challenge for me to see how many boxes we could fit in. Fifteen had to fit in each one, but the more the better. The older kids tended to get bigger boxes, which took some creativity to get all 15 packed in there.

If you are considering doing shoeboxes this year, I would recommend doing either the older children or younger children. They have roughly double the middle age group. You might also consider doing older boys. They seemed to get the very least, and when I was looking through the boxes, I noticed theirs were often quite empty. Some ideas for their boxes would be tools, soccer ball and pump, fishing supplies, hat, shirt, flip flops, toothbrush and soap, candy, and certainly school supplies.

I hope you will share some of Christ’s love to these kids this year through Operation Christmas Child.

Thank you, Joseph and Elissa, for such an amazing trip that I will always remember.

Serving Jesus,

If you look hard, you’ll find me in this picture!
Here I’m fitting boxes into a large box.
Joseph and Elissa blessed me so much by taking me to OCC!


“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this,
To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,
and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
James 1:27

4 thoughts on “Mary Shares on Her Operation Christmas Child Packing Experience”

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience! We have sent OCC shoeboxes ever since my kids were very young, and I’ve always tried to pack at least one shoebox that matched the age and gender of each of my children, so they could “picture” the child who received each box, but as my children approach their teen years it helps to know which group needs more. This past year we put soccer balls and pumps in the boxes we made for older boys, and it’s good to hear that they will be appreciated! I never would have thought to include a hat or shirt, but will definitely keep my eyes open for those items. We like to collect supplies all year long.

  2. Oh, Mary! You’re such a lovely soul. Doing this is such a wonderful thing to do. You look like you had a blast. Our family participates in this ministry every year, and we love seeing other young folks getting excited about it. Your work and dedication are helping many children live lovely lives. More at-home young ladies should follow your example.

  3. I have some questions. Do the kids get all the things people put in their boxes? Or did you take some things out and put it in other boxes that may not have had enough? This is such a great ministry. I would love to be there in person to see the children open the boxes!! Also, I thought I read you can track your box and see where it goes. Do you have anymore info on that?

    For the older boy boxes that were empty- did someone fill them or will that age group just not get anything? It’s sad to think they didn’t have a lot for their age group! 🙁

    Thanks!! Glad you got to go!!!
    Every appropriate item stays. They do not take items out of the full boxes and place them in “empty” ones. They want these boxes to stay the way they were packed. They do have items that have been specifically donated for the use of filling empty boxes, but they were typically cheap and not very exciting – certainly not as personal. Yes you can follow your box. To learn more go to

  4. Hi Mary,

    Thanks for sharing this. We’ve been sending shoe boxes for about 10 years now, but never seen inside a sorting centre. It’s really good to know what happens once the shore boxes leave the Church on the van. It’s also really great to know which groups get a lot already – I guess it may be the age group of the children who are most involved in packing them in school/etc groups. I doubt it would be that different on this side of the pond.

    You look like you had so much fun there too – giving often blesses the giver as well as the one who receives.

    Georgina x

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