Operation Christmas Child: A Chance to Help Share Jesus’ Love!

We arrived at the Operation Christmas Child (OCC) warehouse Monday morning excited about our days of volunteering. After checking in and orientation, we were taken with some others to a processing lane.

There were 16 lanes, and on each lane, you could have 10-13 people working (or, as little as 5 if you had one side going, which we did a few times). Each lane was made up of two sides, where the exact same work was going on. The first person on the lane grabbed the shoebox from a big container, took off the rubber bands, and checked to see if someone had enclosed a donation for Samaritan’s Purse, and if so, you dropped it in the money box. This was called a pre-inspector. They then passed the box off to an inspector, who would check if there were any objectionable items such as liquids (definitely saw hand sanitizers, shower gels, and even snow globes!). If the box wasn’t full, they would add filler items that had been donated from many different places (often there would be two inspectors, so two pre-inspectors needed to keep four regular inspectors going!). Next, someone would secure the box with tape, and hand it off to a packer, who would put the shoebox in the proper age/gender box. If the label was a “Follow Your Box” scannable label, someone else would scan it.

We girls worked a variety of jobs, but my favorite was the pre-inspector! I really enjoyed seeing the creativity and love people put into their boxes. Anna was the master taper, and on Monday, she and another worker had taping-contests. Anna could really fly through her boxes, and that job requires strength and stamina (I know, because I did it for just a little while and came away with a big appreciation for all of Anna’s work!).

Mary was a cheerful helper, sometimes packing boxes into their ultimate shipping box, or scanning boxes, or inspecting or pre-inspecting—just wherever she was needed. She was also our go-to girl on items that might have been gray-areas if you had a question on that (“Hey, Mary, what about glow sticks?”).

As one guy said, these are supposed to be shoe boxes, and not boot boxes! Yes, we saw a huge variety in size, and this one was no exception!

The handmade items were especially touching!

Between the three days we volunteered, we worked with some super awesome people. Some came for just a morning, or some came for all week (Hello, Tammi, and Jim & Linda!), but we were all there with the same goal: to bless children! We talked, and laughed, and encouraged each other. We were truly a team.

Several times a day, everyone stopped working, and an OCC staff member led us in prayer, and we laid hands on the boxes. It was sobering to think we were the last people to handle the boxes before the children. And, oh, how exciting it was to hear Monday night, that boxes were already on a truck and headed down to El Paso, and then to cross the border to Mexico! Such precious cargo on its way!

Time of prayer!

Samaritan’s has distributed 120 million shoe boxes since their inception, and their goal is to never give a child a shoebox twice in their lifetime. I have to say, I used to wonder when they would hit market saturation. They won’t. Why? Listen to something that totally shocked me and made me realize that 9 million shoeboxes this Christmas is only a drop in the bucket. If OCC had taken all 120 million that they’ve given out since the 1990’s, and given that 120 million to India last year, 280 million children in India STILL wouldn’t have a shoe box. Y’all, that’s in India ALONE! Talk about amazing.

With that in mind, Denver’s processing plant still needs help these next 10 days to process the boxes. Their goal is 800,000, and they had reached the 400,000 mark when we were there, but that’s a little over half way, and their goal end mark is Saturday, December 17th. They encouraged people to invite friends/family/their church. And since we have a wide blog readership, I’m encouraging you to jump on board if you live in the general area, and help OCC out.

It’s an amazing way to share God’s love with little children in other countries! You won’t regret it!

This note melted me!
Talk about a creative box!
We worked with a group from Visa Wednesday. They were awesome!
A special winter treat on our way home.
Our friends, the J. Family, were incredibly hospitable!
My friend, Laura, and Me
A hot game of Dutch Blitz!

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother
have need, 
and shutteth up his bowels of compassion
from him, how dwelleth 
the love of God in him?”
1 John 3:17

8 thoughts on “Operation Christmas Child: A Chance to Help Share Jesus’ Love!”

  1. You Maxwell girls are SO special! 🙂 What a wonderful ministry project you’ve helped with, and to think how many children will be blessed thanks in part to your hard work. Those statistics you shared are astounding and very sobering. Thank you for sharing this post, including the photos of you all. I always enjoy seeing your cheerful smiles! 🙂
    Love, Mrs. Patti

  2. I see Jesse joined Sarah, Anna and Mary – how nice that he got to come too!

    He drove us to and from Denver and then worked in the in between days. It was great–lots of good sibling time!

  3. Looks like an enjoyable time.

    Was wondering if they allow the bigger boxes to go through? Seems as if that would allow maybe one child to get much more than others in a particular place.

    Ah, Jesse made the trip with you girls as well!



    They definitely do allow the bigger boxes! One can’t get everything equal, and we know that the right box will get into the perfect child’s hands!

  4. I have been inspired! Thanks for sharing and I will be taking some time off and volunteering next Christmas. This year I have been searching for areas to volunteer with; Operation Christmas Child is a good one. I am thankful to be able to give forward for all of God’s blessings in my life! Hope you all have a great Christmas filled with peace and joy and most important, Christ’s love.

    That’s awesome!

  5. We love Operation Christmas Child and collect things for our boxes all year long. We would probably love to volunteer as a family at one of their processing sites. Do you happen to know the minimum age requirement?
    If you contact them or look on their site, I’m sure they would have it. I do know they allowed under 18, because some of the young people wore student badges. But you’d have to see how young they allow. It would be an awesome family project!

  6. You girls and your family are such an inspiration to others.I love reading your post and see your family and all the ministry you do.Was wondering what are some of your favorite drinks to get? Seen your coffee shop pic and thought I would ask. Blessings!?

    Well, if you’re me (Sarah), you love salted caramel mochas, peppermint mochas, or just regular :). If you’re Anna or Mary, they might be more inclined for a latte of some flavor!

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