This week, my wife went Christmas shopping. She gathered lots of goodies for three packages full of presents, like magnifying glasses, crayons and clothes. We excitedly wrapped the presents while watching Glee, and explained to our toddler son that these presents are not for him. They are for children like Gina:
Gina is 12. Her father left when she was young and her stepfather has recently died from cancer. She and her mother, Natasha live in a tiny flat in Belarus. Working as a seamstress, Natasha constantly struggles to earn a living. When Gina opened her shoebox she could not believe her eyes. For there, amongst the brightly coloured gifts was a calculator – something she had often dreamed of owning but never been able to afford. She also found a moving letter that we were able to read out to her. Gina sings in her church and likes playing volleyball and table tennis at the church youth club. Her face shone when she exclaimed, “I like everything in the shoebox – thank you!”
(Story taken from the UK OCC site)
Gina is one of thousands of children who will get Christmas presents this year when they may not expect any. In fact, through Operation Christmas Child, thousands of children will receive Christmas presents for the very first time. Some have never even heard of Christmas before. Operation Christmas Child is a program through Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian charity, in which children receive both presents and learn about the meaning of Christmas.
Today is Blog Action Day, when bloggers ask their readers to take action for a cause. While it may be a bit early to think about Christmas, now is the time to shop for this charity if you’re interested. It takes time to process the gifts so that they may arrive around the world by Christmas Day. For $15 or so, you can put a huge smile on a child’s face.
I recommend that you think about the price of the next anime-related product you’re going to buy, and instead use that money for one, two or more shoeboxes. We do one for each family member. For me, I’ve decided to skip out on buying volume 2 of Toradora!, instead using that money for this campagin. And this project need not be expensive – Wal-Mart, Target and even dollar stores have wonderful, inexpensive items that children will love. We also include hygienic items…and maybe a little candy. The OOC site gives a list of items for packing and other important processing information.
I’m also using this post as a way to launch my new Resources section, which includes charitable organizations, along with a FAQ page and a Christian anime sites page.
Even if you don’t participate in this ministry, I hope that you’ll remember the world and those suffering in this holiday season that’s upcoming. The world is bigger than us; it’s bigger than our developed countries. It’s time we spend some money helping others than on that collectible item. It’s time we reach out to the world with a big hug…and some Christmas presents.