Hey all,
I walked three miles today...
on to the post.
I went to church last sunday.
They do this thing where you pick up a shoebox and fill it up with toys and candy and then send it to a 'needy child'.
Well, one of the people who runs the thing was at church last sunday.
She explained something that I never knew.
This is the only box that child will ever get.
It's not like this charity comes back year after year.
Just once.
One box.
I sat and thought about it.
What kind of gift do you give to a kid in a third world hell hole that is big enough to last his whole life.
They give the kid a bible.
So, that was out...you can't send knives so a multi tool is out ( I love multi tools...can openers, mini hack saw...the whole nine.)
we (meaning my youngest and I) picked a little girl between 4 and 9.
She picked the biggest shoebox she could find. lol.
So tonight I went to walmart to find stuff...and as I wandered up and down the aisles I realized the only thing I really wished I could give her I couldn't give her.
the same opportunities my kids have as citizens of this country.
I looked at the barbie dolls (and I have no idea where this box is going)...
All the blond haired, blue eyed dolls with their fluffy dresses and sparkles.
On the back it said "What do I want to be today?" with a little girl with her head in her hands daydreaming and pretending with barbie..
She was a doctor
or an astronaut.
Or a fashion model.
I was thinking...
this kid probably wants to be
"Not hungry" today.
Part of me wondered if this child was going to look at this doll like some sort of alien creature descended from america.
I bought doctor barbie.
Because there are lots of aid agencies in Africa...or maybe this is going to haiti...and maybe this girl could pretend she would grow up and be a doctor.
So I bought that barbie.
The Aid lady said that often times the families would share the box so I bought a four pack of toothbrushes.
I bought a washcloth (also on the list)...a jumprope...because it can be used by more than one person...a pack of plastic playing cards so they would be harder to smudge or damage.
a coloring book with disney princesses along with crayons.
(again had that moment where I wondered what the child would think of all these fancy dresses and butterflies)
And bought a dress one size too large for a nine year old.
two head bands and a rose clip to put on them...a package of 9 combs and 10 pencils and a pencil sharpener.
And I managed to cram this stuff into a shoe box.
I will be duct taping it later. lololol.

I sat there looking at the number of paltry items in my cart.
Things I could pick up willy nilly whenever I wanted.
I got home and explained to my oldest that these kids only ever get one shoe box.
She couldn't believe it..
I told her they moved on after they handed one out and they don't come back.
What do you buy a child who will never have your children's opportunities.
I wish I could buy them a plane ticket to america.
We are so lucky.
And so blessed.
We have so much and I don't think we realize it.
A hairbow.
It's something special to a child over there.
Here it's something I retrieve from under my daughters bed because she dropped it and forgot about it.
could you imagine buying your child a washcloth for Christmas?
What kind of guff you'd get?
A comb?
It's enough to leave you heartbroken.
Have a good Sunday..
I will see you all on Monday.


Linda Pressman said...

It's a sobering thought and a big responsibility. We sign up for the Adopt-A-Family program our school has every year and sometimes the lists are heartbreaking and other times they can be weird, like asking for Ugg boots or a Nintendo DS, things my own kids don't have even though we could afford them.

This year among my gifts, I ended up with the kid who wants a Barbie too. So I bought her a double pack. That way she can play with someone else!

LauraLynne said...

We are indeed blessed for our country, our opportunities, our ability to dream, grow, and achieve.
I can't imagine what I would fill the box with. I mean what does a hungry child DO with toys and stuff?
There just isn't a shoebox to hold the hugs I'd like to send.

Anonymous said...

You have a good heart, Chris.


Venus Flower said...

That is such a hard and thought provoking thing. I know I feel sorry or stressed or worried about things ALOT, my family was evivted 3 years ago and ALMOST evicted again a couple months ago, at the end of the month we don't have food ... we are under enormous stress a great deal of the time... But even so I always remember that we are SO very blessed. I haven't truely starved, I still have a roof over my head... We are okay...Alot of people out there are in more need... even of a little understanding...

She said...

We do the shoebox over here too and it does pull you up sharp. We are so blessed in the western world. Or maybe we are cursed? We live in such a materialistic time, at this time of the year it all becomes so apparent. Oh for a simpler, kinder more caring world.

Thank you Chris.



Jane said...

Beautiful, thoughtful post, Chris. In this era of excess in our country, I am humbled by the needs of others in this world. I wish we did the shoebox here. I've not heard of it before, but I will be sharing this idea. Thank you.

Leslie said...

Beautiful. Our church does this as well, and I can honestly say our family gets as excited preparing for a less fortunate family than our own Christmas mornings. Thanks for reminding me that is truly is more blessed to give than receive, and makes us feel better than does anything else.

Anonymous said...

I love your heart.

Ms. Chunky Chick said...

It is true, and just knowing that every little bit helps. You have an amazing heart.

Robin said...

*sigh* That is a lot to take in. One box. There is more need than there is ability to fill it. Or maybe willingness to fill it. Or awareness to fill it. Once you start looking, you see need everywhere. Being sick, I see how the medical community is failing the people right here. You are seeing the need overseas. People in low rent housing are seeing an altogether different need. Need is so encompassing that it feels like a black hole that we all should be sucked into, and it is surprising that we are still here. Ironically, my word to post this message is "reward." I don't know what the hidden message is there...

Mary Ellen said...

You'd be surprised what kids in other countries do "know" about the US. Little boys want to grow up to be pro wrestlers (at least boys in India who didn't even have televisions did). Little girls dream of Barbies, baby dolls, etc.

I spent 7 months teaching in India through a fellowship at the college I went to. We were there from August through the end of March (1996-1997) and I spent Christmas there. We decorated a leafy "tree" (it was actually a big branch that came off a huge tree) with candy wrappers folded into ornaments, gum foil, and even some colored cellophane from food packaging. Presents included candy (a small bag of hard candy for everyone), some special snacks, and maybe a new outfit for each member of the family. That was it.

Seeing how resourceful others have to be and how thankful they are for so much less is sobering, but I feel immensely grateful that I had the opportunity to see how most of the world is living. It truly changed how I view the world and my place in it.

debby said...

Beautiful thoughts, Chris. I just turned in my Christmas box this morning. I think about this stuff a lot. Every time I let the shower run a little longer just for the luxury of it, I think about people who didn't have clean water to drink today. It is terrible problem in our world today.

99ToGo said...

So now I don't feel so bad about having a breakdown in my own Walmart a couple of years ago...We weren't sending shoeboxes to 3rd world kids, but to (comparably wealthier) children in our local foster care system.

At first I walked in and looked around to find something mice, but cheap. I picked over a few things that were requested and balked at their prices. Then I thought about how our "child" would feel about bringing the new gift to school after the new year. Would she be proud? Made fun of? More fully aware of what she lacked compared to the other kids with permanent homes whose parents went all out on their Christmas shopping?

Because we do that. We spoil our girls senseless and so do their grandparents, and pathetic me was standing in that aisle trying to go cheap.

Then I started crying and tried to find items that would really brighten the day of the child we'd picked. And I didn't feel any better, because I still wondered how hard it must be for a little girl without her family to look out at a world of kids who 'have it all'. Stuff, sure. But more important, the love and stability that children deserve.

Heartbreak indeed.

Putz said...

all you guys kind of depress me today, so maybe i will go elsewhere

M Pax said...

It is good to learn to be grateful for what we have. All the little things we take for granted.

here I sit wondering what is an appropriate gift for my nieces who just lost their father or for my sister who just lost her best friend. I am hoping my presence is something they can't get anywhere else.

'Yellow Rose' Jasmine said...

Chris- thank you for writing about your experience with this. I went right to the website for Operation Christmas Child and found out where there was a church I could send a box through. I just couldn't get the idea of 'one box' out of my head and I felt compelled to do something. We will send two boxes ourselves and then I will collect some from friends. Again, thanks for telling of your experience. I am glad for the opportunity to do this as well.

cmoursler said...

wow @ yellow rose...
That is wonderful and makes me feel so much better. How awesome. Thank you.