It’s been awhile since I’ve written about Operation Christmas Child, which is one of my favorite non-profit projects to help with. Several times over the last several years, my family has packed 3-5 boxes ourselves to send.
This year, I began volunteering as a small group leader with our church’s youth group and felt led to organize and facilitate an Operation Christmas Child project with the entire youth group on a much larger scale. We plan on making this an annual project in which we stuff more boxes every year, but for our inaugural year, we decided on 60 boxes.
I thought I’d share with you the steps I took to get this project off the ground. Maybe it will be helpful to some of you or maybe just inspiring. Either way, my goal will be accomplished.
Every church is different in the way they handle the financial end of things. The church I attend happens to have lots of generous givers and a large budget. After consulting with our pastor of student ministries, I submitted an email proposal outlining the project and asking the church to cover the cost of shipping ($7 per box), the cost of one $5 toy for each box and the boxes themselves (which I ordered from OCC). The youth group would take care of the rest.
At first I thought I’d have the youth and leaders just bring toy and hygiene donations…whatever they felt led to do. I quickly realized that this would lead to much more work on the backend. So I decided to assign each small group a number of specific items to donate. Here’s why:
- I needed to make sure that all the items could fit in the shoe box. The only way to do this was to request a specific assortment of items I knew would fit.
- I knew it would be alot of work on the backend to try to evenly distribute an assortment of different items to all the boxes. Requesting the same items for each box would allow us to stuff the boxes in assembly line form, therefore saving time and the effort to sort through all the donations.
- I wanted to make sure we didn’t end up with too much of one thing and not enough of another, which would mean possibly making extra purchases at the last minute to even things out.
I requested specific items from each small group based on group size. More expensive items or larger quantities were assigned to larger groups and lesser quantities or lesser expensive things were given to the smaller groups.
I created the flyer above to distribute to the youth group outlining what everyone was supposed to bring. Notice I also added in the due date for donated items and a save the date for the packing party.
I also drafted a letter to be emailed to every small group leader explaining the project in detail. It would be up to each leader/group to determine how to gather their items. They could do it a couple of different ways:
- Determine a budget for their items, have everyone donate an equal amount of money and one person do the shopping.
- Have each person bring an equal number of the items assigned to their group.
To be continued…..
I’ll be back to update on how our packing party turned out and how smoothly things actually went.
It’s not too late for you to plan an Operation Christmas Child project for your family, youth group, homeschool coop or club at school. National Collection Week is November 16 – 23 and you can click here to get detailed instructions and find a drop off location near you.