We’ve done it. We have.
We’ve started a small movement for boys ages 10-14. Lest ye think it matters naught, stick around.
OK, I’m bad at surprises so I’ll get to the punch line.
Last week Elizabeth, Niece #1, and I spent four hours at the Operation Christmas Child warehouse in Denver helping to check and package boxes for OCC. An hour into in Niece #1 called out to me, “Aunt Amy.”
I paused, it’s not really a big chatting job and I was lost in thought about how I tend to romanticize semi-hard labor and then my nails break and my back aches I wonder why all parts of serving aren’t as glamourous and fun as shopping for children and making festive images for blog posts to get you and me off our butts. But I digress. “Yes dear one?”
“I’m packing a box for a boy next year. It’s been an hour and I’ve seen, like two. Two boxes in an hour.”
She added with her wry teenage smile (and the fact that she’s a much calmer personality than me and thinks I’m prone to hyperbole. WHAT? Me?!), “You are very persuasive.”
Can we please have a moment of silence since asking you to tattoo this on your forehead might be going a bit far.
I told her, it’s not that I’m persuasive, it’s just so damn heart breaking to see girl box after girl box. OK, I didn’t actually cuss at my niece, however, the discrepancy is from the pit of hell. But redemption, she is a’coming! I know many of you packed boy boxes this year. Yay!!
So, here’s the plan for next year:
1. I’m going to call Samaritan’s Purse when it’s not the height of the crazy season and get some facts for us.
2. I’m going to make two PDF handouts. One with the plea for boys and updated gift ideas and another with just gift ideas. That way you can print out copies to share and leave at tables handing out information.
3. I’m now going to give you a short tour of the packing center so you are informed and pumped for all the future boys who will get boxes — without your nails having to break or your back needing to ache :). It is encouraging to know what happens to your boxes!
I love giving tours! Welcome to OCC
There are nine OCC centers in the U.S. that will process 8.3 millions boxes with total goal of 10 million boxes from all countries. Denver’s goal is 800,000 boxes and from personal experience, a line with six people working for 3.5 hours can process about 1,200 boxes.
Volunteers are trained for about 10 minutes in a professional and effective system. Truly, I’m impressed. Then you are assigned to a line.
Elizabeth is in the gray jacket and her job was to open the box, remove and deposit any money and pass it on to her daughter who would go through the box, removing illegal items and, if needed, restocking or beefing up (you’d be surprised how many aren’t full). She then would set it on the top of the white shelf where the lady in orange would tape the box closed. The next person to open the box will be the child!
The taper would then stack the boxes and my job was to sort them by gender (boy/girl) and age (2-4, 5-9, 10-14). The goal was to get at least 14 boxes in a BIG box. Pastors and leaders are told there are at least 14 boxes inside so they can know roughly how many kids to invite to parties and events.
I’m going to show you two pictures. There is a difference — can you spot it? (I’m pretty sure you will.)
How many “Girl 5-9” boxes are filled at a time? And how many “Boy 10-14?” Two to one. In full disclosure, there are also two “Boy 5-9” big boxes, but the number #1 box by far are “Girl 5-9.” I get it, I really do. They are safe and and familiar :). But armed with our lists, we’re going to help boys 10-14 be fun and familiar too :)!
This is what a fullish box looks like. Please, please don’t pick plastic containers that are too large. I felt bad when I couldn’t get at least 14 boxes to fit, knowing there would be disappointed kids and that some kids would get twice as much as others.
And then it happened! The Red Sea parted and Moses walked forth with the first box for a boy 10-14 our line saw! Give or take, that’s how it want down. I told my new taping friend I needed a picture and could she hold the box?
Every couple of hours, all work is stopped and everyone one in the warehouse prays together for the boxes, people distributing them, and the kids receiving them.
And sometimes a gem like this is found in a box. (My taping neighbor apparently wasn’t having the nails issue I was.)
Doesn’t this just fill you up?! And make you want to pack more boxes for boys? Several of you have asked me how many extra boxes were packed for boys based on you sharing or responding to the gift ideas. Mind sharing in the comments? Which picture was your fav?
Merry Christmas to the boys :). You are not forgotten by us. We love you too.