Help the Y share joy with children affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine, and disease by sending a shoebox full of gifts through Operation Christmas Child. This project collects shoeboxes—filled with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items—and delivers them to boys and girls all over the world to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way.
For many of these children, like Dania Yadago, the shoebox is the first gift they've ever received.
Dania got a shoebox gift as a five-year-old in the Middle East, where her family fled from country to country escaping war and persecution. One year, they began praying for a specific need. That year, Dania received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. As Dania and her family carefully went through the box, they shrieked in disbelief as they pulled out a direct answer to their prayers.
“It taught me that God truly answers prayers in a way we don’t expect,” Dania says. “Don’t underestimate the power of prayer, because God answers, and it’s beautiful when he answers through you, and the shoebox, and the work that you’re doing through Operation Christmas Child.”
Anyone can pack a shoebox. Individuals, families, churches and groups fill empty shoeboxes with school supplies, hygiene items and fun toys, such as dolls or soccer balls. Your shoebox could reach a child in need in places like Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda, Ukraine or the Middle East.
“With YMCAs in more than 120 countries, our organization’s mission and impact are felt across the globe, and our support of Operation Christmas Child is a great way to partner with another nonprofit to connect our members and community with ‘neighbors’ we may never meet, but for whom the contents of a small shoebox can mean so much,” says YMCA Chaplain Vona Wilson.
Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 146 million shoebox gifts to children in more than 160 countries and territories.
How do I start?
Pick up an Operation Christmas Child box at your local Y, use a small box or plastic container you have at home, or build a shoebox online through Operation Christmas Child.
How do I pack a shoebox?
- Indicate if your gift is for a girl or boy and select an age range on the label.
- Pack your shoebox full of toys, school supplies and hygiene items. View a list of gift ideas and what not to pack here.
- Donate $7 online to cover international shipping costs to get a customized label that will allow you to track your shoebox across the world. (You may also include cash in an envelope in the box.)
- Secure your box with a rubber band. Do not tape it shut, so that the Operation Christmas Child volunteers can review your box’s contents and add the
word of God to your box.
Where can I drop off my box?
At any YMCA of Middle Tennessee location (except Margaret Maddox or Clarksville) or other designated drop-off locations. The Y is collecting shoeboxes through November 17.