Sometime in the last few years, I’ve become known in my circle of friends as “the lady who does OCC parties.” A question arises about OCC, and people say, “Ask Kathy, she’ll know.” The closer we get to collection week, the more tweets and texts I get with people asking me questions, “Can this go in the box?”
You wanna know a secret? I kinda love it.
I’ll answer any and all questions, and if I don’t know the answer I’ll find out.
I’m that passionate about it.
What started out as something that was fun to do around Christmas turned into a full blown, year-round endeavor in 2010. That was the year I decided that for my birthday I wanted to have an Operation Christmas Child party. So, I posted it on the blog and asked friends and family to give me box packing supplies instead of gifts. And, I invited anyone and everyone to participate.
We had a GREAT time that first year so we’ve done it every year since!!!!
But, why OCC? Why shoeboxes?
That answer’s easy. My love languages are acts of service and gifts. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to give gifts. Ask my friends. When somebody says they like a particular candy, I write it down to make sure they get it soon. When it’s a special occasion, I like to mark it with a gift. Actually, my favorite gifts to give are “just because I love you gifts.” Those are awesome.
So, what better way to show someone half-way around the world that God loves them than by giving them a gift. A shoebox is a tangible way of saying, “I may not know you personally, but God does. And, He cares about you.”
A shoebox is something those children can hold and treasure and share and love. Each item in a shoebox communicates God’s love to these precious children. Toothbrushes and toothpaste show that He cares about their physical being. A plush friend shows His love through snuggles and cuddles. Toys show that He cares about joy and fun.
Then, there is that one item that He puts in each box that He’s picked out just for them. I’ve heard story after story of children who opened their shoebox and found just what THEY needed. Maybe it’s hair clips for a little girl who’s never had her own. Maybe it’s a new shirt arriving just as the one the little boy’s wearing is too small. Maybe it’s a needed pair of shoes or a sewing kit or a hammer and nails. Whatever it is, that one thing speaks into that child’s life, and God whispers, “I know you. I love you.”
It’s the stories of those whispers that bring me to my knees in gratitude and awe. My heavenly Father loves me as much as He loves these little people a world away. And, I know how much He loves them as I’ve watched Him orchestrate hundreds of thousands of people to bring them joy in the form of a shoebox.
That’s why OCC.
That’s why I pack shoeboxes EVERY year.
That’s why I’ll do it until I can’t do it any more.
I pack shoeboxes to give the gift of God’s love.
Won’t you join me this year?