Posts Tagged ‘Samaritan’s purse’

Samaritan’s Purse

August 31, 2008

The other day I got a letter from Samaritan’s Purse.  It told about the opportunity to volunteer at one of six collection/distribution centers for Operation Christmas Child.  If you have never heard about it, every fall churches all over the nation collect shoeboxes filled with children’s toys, school supplies and candy to send to children in third world countries who would not otherwise receive a Christmas gift.  For many of the children, this is the first gift they have EVER received.  Anyway, I was all excited and contacted the three closest distribution centers to where I live.  I was amazed to find all the volunteer slots were already filled, and had been filled a week after registration opened.  Well, I thought, I will surely get my registration in early next year.  I really WANT to be part of this–just once anyway.

Who are the people who will come hundreds of miles, pay their own transportation expenses and their own hotel bills to work in a distribution warehouse?  They are families, church groups, youth groups, college groups, grandmas and grandpas, and well, just about anybody you can imagine who can afford to travel, or else lives in the same city as the distribution warehouse.  People actually plan vacations around doing this.  What do they do?  They go through each and every box to make sure the gifts are age-appropriate and safe, sort according to age and sex, wrap bundles in plastic, pack bundles in shipping boxes, and load trucks.  Not exactly glamorous work.  But, they “whistle while they work” literally and figuratively.  They love the feeling of being a part of something bigger than they are.  They love knowing that some little kids who have never had a Christmas will have one this year.  They are 65,000 strong, and they handled 7.5 MILLION shoeboxes (2007 statistics).  Hats off to Samaritan’s Purse, and Operation Christmas Child!

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Dollar and Discount Stores part 2

March 20, 2008

I was poking fun at dollar and discount stores in my last post, but I truly love them.  There are so many ways to use dollar and discount stores to help people or bring them happiness when you, yourself, are on a tight budget.

One organization that gives the poorest of poor children a Christmas is Samaritan’s Purse.  Every Christmas they collect shoe boxes with gifts for poor children all over the world.  The gifts can be small toys, candy, gum, pencils, toothbrushes, crayons and small color books, notebooks, etc.  Seems so small to us, but to a child who has never before received a Christmas gift, it means the world.  You can fill such a shoebox at a dollar store for about $10.  If you make a few local phone calls, you can find a location near you where they are collecting the shoeboxes, and take in yours.  The organization is called Samaritan’s Purse, and you can find them online to see what happens to the shoeboxes, and how many were distributed last year.

Another thing you can do with your dollar store purchases is fill hospital patient kits for Mercy Ships.  Right now Mercy Ships has both hospital ship-based and land-based surgery facilities in West Africa.  If you didn’t know, West Africa was torn by years of civil war, and many people there have almost nothing.  When they check into the hospital they have nothing to bring with them.  At a dollar store you can get a plastic or canvas or cloth bag, and fill it with a bath towel and washcloth, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, a packet of wet wipes, a bath sponge, and a hand held mirror.  You can do all this for  about $12 to $15 at a dollar store.  You can send your bag to Mercy Ships International Headquarters in Lindale, Texas.  Check out their website at www.mercyships.org

I’m sure there are dozens or hundreds of opportunities online to do good using dollar store purchases.  When we are on tight budgets ourselves, we are tempted to think whatever we can do is too small to do any good.  Thats not true.  Some very small gifts mean a huge difference to the person who receives them.

When I lost my first child, it was right before Christmas time.  I was in the hospital Christmas Eve, a grieving mom with empty arms.  On Christmas morning, I found on the overhead table, a small stocking.  It had a comb, some candy and a couple other items.  It also had a card inside that said “God has not forgotten you.  He knows you are here.  We have not forgotten you either, and you are in our prayers.”  I don’t know the people who left it, but I can tell you it meant the world to me at that time, and I never forgot it.

Do whatever good you can–its never too small.  Smiles are free, and you never know but your smile may be the only one someone got that day.

Nonni