Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Care Package Project: November

We did something a little different for our November Care Package Project, because when an opportunity presents itself, you may as well go for it, right?

I did a story not too long ago for the newspaper about Operation Christmas Child, and while I could tell you all sorts of things about the organization, let's keep it simple: People fill shoe boxes with small gifts for a child in need in... I can't remember how many different countries. A lot. 

And P.S., "need" can mean anything from "living in a war torn country" to "suffering from some terrible disease" to "living in extreme poverty" to "dealing with natural disasters" to "homeless" to "orphans. Plus all of the above." It's kind of disheartening, really, because many countries don't have the safety nets we have here in the US--in our small town, we have food banks, an emergency voucher program, safe houses for battered women, a foster care system, mentoring programs, and a warming shelter for the homeless. That doesn't include Christmastime food and gift projects. Not that people don't still slip through the cracks... just that there are many avenues available for help. I (naively, I guess) thought every country had such programs. Apparently, not so.

And one more thing: most of the time, the kids receiving these gifts have never received a present before. In their entire lives. According to the woman I interviewed, giving gifts (especially to children) is unheard of in many parts of the world. It's hard to wrap my mind around that in the very consumer- and child-driven culture I live in.

Well, anyway. Because we have girls, we chose to fill a box for a girl between the ages of 10 and 14. Easy enough, since I have girls who are 9 and 15; I just went for things they'd both enjoy (namely: art supplies). Our Christmas Child program coordinators also provided a list of ideas, which was great--I'd never have thought to include personal hygiene or a sewing kit on my own.

WHY did I not take a photo of Johanna with our little offerings spread around her as she packed them into the box? I was distracted with putting away groceries, that's why. Totally missed an opportunity. But I can show you this:

Figure 1: The top layer. :)

Here's what we packed:
3 pairs of colorful socks
3 sparkly hairbands
Small notebook
Pencil pouch
Colored Pencils
Pencil sharpener
Watercolor paint set
2 glue sticks
3 colorful erasers
Solar powered calculator
Small sewing kit
Bar of soap
Lip balm (in Mickey and Minnie Mouse tubes. Well, why not?)
...And $7 for shipping

Figure 2: All packed up and ready to go.

I didn't have to send it (which always seems to be the downfall of any of our CPPs), but I did have to get it to the drop-off site, one of our local churches, by a certain date. Whew! Made it!

So that's November. Our December CPP will also be a little different... but that's another post for another time. I'm kind of trying to decide if we're going to continue the CPP Revolution in 2015; it's super-fun, but stressful. :) Too bad I only look like I'm organized...

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