Best items to put in a Christmas Shoebox

Thinking of filling a shoebox for Samaritan's Purse to give to children across the developing world? Here's some great advice from a veteran Christmas-shoebox filler and distributor:

  • For any age boy here, what they really want is a soccer ball. So get the best quality mini soccer ball that you can fit into the box when it is inflated (or send a deflated ball with a pump) and you can basically forget about anything else!
  • Brand new nice short-sleeved shirts (with no writing on them) for boys and girls. Kids here have few clothes and often wear old, ripped, hand-me-downs, so nice new shirts are really appreciated and will probably fit. (I don’t know any obese Senegalese kids.)
  • Small flashlight with batteries (Most families don’t have electricity so a working flashlight is gold!)
  • Good quality melamine plate, bowl, and/or cup (Practical and also special.)
  • Soap AND a plastic soap dish that has a cover. When you bathe standing on a big rock in the dirt as kids do here, you really need the soap holder. And families never have enough soap. (Funny note: the kids didn’t know what the soap was because it was in a box. I am sure they would have figured it out though, even without our help.)
  • Toothbrush in a toothbrush holder. Again, the plastic case for the toothbrush is really great when you don’t have a sink/counter/tiled bathroom but rather brush your teeth outside squatting over dirt and need to keep it in your room.
  • Pencils, erasers, colored pencils, and sharpeners for all school-aged kids. And good quality pens for kids aged 10-14, in black, red, green, and blue. All of these are required for school and the ones from America last so much longer than the cheap ones available here.

You can read the rest here, with details of other good items to put into a shoebox, plus things to avoid.
Paul Sutton, 03/11/2015