“I’d find stuff at their house and ask ‘Mom, why do you have all these crayons?’ And she’d say ‘Oh, they’re for shoeboxes’”
When Hertha Maciocha saw the joy and fulfillment her daughter received by volunteering with Operation Christmas Child, she decided to start packing shoeboxes as well.
Laureen, her daughter, saw the results for herself when she helped her parents move from the family home into retirement housing in Edmonton.
“My mom was the shopper; she’d see sales and figure out how much she would buy,” Laureen recalled. “I’d find stuff at their house and ask ‘Mom, why do you have all these crayons?’ And she’d say ‘Oh, they’re for shoeboxes!’
“It inspired me to look at stuff I’d bought for my kids, stuff that was brand new and never used, that I could include in shoeboxes.”
Shoebox packing party
Hertha filled between three and five shoeboxes every year, lovingly packing each one with toys, school supplies and hygiene items for a child in need.
When Hertha died at age 82, Laureen could think of no better way to honor her than to pack more shoeboxes. So she gathered a group of friends, planned a packing party, and assembled 70 shoebox gifts.
All the contents came from the items Hertha had purchased over the years, which totaled eight large Tupperware storage containers.
A key part of Operation Christmas Child, which Hertha appreciated and Laureen loves too, is its focus on obeying Christ’s command to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15, ESV).
This ministry proclaims the Good News in three ways:
- When it is culturally appropriate, we present the Gospel to all children at shoebox distribution events. Many parents or guardians attend these events and also hear the Gospel.
- We offer children The Greatest Gift, a colorful storybook that shares the message of salvation. The booklet (available in more than 80 languages) shares 11 Scripture stories and invites children to follow Christ. Shoebox recipients can take The Greatest Gift home to share with family and friends.
- When possible, we invite each child who received a shoebox to participate in The Greatest Journey, our 12-lesson evangelism and discipleship program. After finishing The Greatest Journey, children attend a graduation celebration where we present the Gospel again, then give them a certificate and a New Testament in their language. It is often the first copy of God’s Word the child or their family have ever owned.
We praise God that during the last nine years, He has used The Greatest Journey to bring almost nine million children to faith in His Son. In many cases, these children lead their families to Christ.
You can fulfill Christ’s Great Commission with every Operation Christmas Child shoebox you pack. And you can start right now by visiting PackaBox.ca and doing it online. Please link arms with us; lives are waiting to be changed by the Gospel.