The Good Samaritan

     Every year I am late packing my shoebox and this year was no exception.   I tell myself to get organized, collection week is always the third week of November, (13-20), but until I see the roadside sign outside the gray church it always slips my mind.   Then I feel guilty, as that shoebox may be the only Christmas present a child in a war-ravaged country or refugee camp may have.   Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian based international relief organization which among other programs operates Operation Christmas Child, a charity which has since 1993 delivered over 124 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 150 countries.   This year they plan on 12 million more.   Here is a link to their website, including suggestions on what to pack in the Christmas boxes, as well as the local drop-off locations nearest you.   You can also build a shoebox online ($25), or donate online if you don’t have time to do the shopping yourself or it’s too late.

https://www.samaritanspurse.org/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/

    You can pack a shoebox for a girl or boy, ages 2-4, 5-8 and 10-14 yrs.   I use the preprinted shoeboxes the church gives out which comes with an instruction pamphlet and a label you check off and affix to the front.  You need to include $10 for shipping from Canada, ($9 from the US), and they have added a new feature that if you donate the shipping fee online you can track what country your box goes to with a tracking label.   I think this is a truly worthwhile charity and a way for children to learn the true meaning of Christmas – giving instead of receiving.  You can take your kids to the dollar store to shop for a child their own age, and then later, perhaps on Christmas Eve, check online to see where their box has gone.  There are some truly touching videos on their facebook page, website and on youtube – imagine never having received a Christmas present.   We live in a society of such excess – it is a learning experience for a child to see that half the world lives in poverty and that even a small action can help spread joy.      

     I first remember reading about Operation Christmas Child years ago in a newspaper article which described the near riot which ensued when the boxes were being handed out in Afghanistan.   A homeless mother of five children who was interviewed said her kids would be allowed to keep one toy, and the rest would be sold in the marketplace for food.   That struck me as so sad – what are dollar store trinkets to us here, would be life-saving there.  I always hope that whoever gets my box will be allowed to keep all the contents, so I put a lot of thought into what I buy.   First the basic stuff, school supplies, a box of 24 crayons, coloured pencils with animal erasers, plus sharpeners for both, a pink notebook, a colouring and activity book and stickers (multicultural Disney princesses).  Then some hygiene items, soap, a comb, pink hair bands/barrettes, pink fuzzy socks (they may have cool nights and I know I can’t sleep if my feet are cold).    Then the fun stuff I remember liking as a child, a slinky, playdoh, a yo-yo, a soft ball with a picture of the world on it, a package of pink balloons and a small stuffed bear.  

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   The tootsie rolls had to come out as you cannot include candy this year, nor toothpaste, playing cards or gum, (customs regulations, so it is best to check online as the rules change periodically).  I once heard a story from a man who had received one of the boxes as a child, but his mother only allowed him and his sister to keep one piece of bubble gum which they shared between them.  He later immigrated to Canada and as he now owns a dollar store he can chew all the gum he wants, but he never forgot getting that Christmas box.   Other things I have added in the past include those little fuzzy wind-up Easter chicks as they are fun and don’t take up too much room, a set of plastic wild animals (giraffes, lions, hippos etc), a skipping rope, glow in the dark Silly Putty, and a folding soccer ball.   I try to get pencils and balls with a maple leaf theme if the Canadian souvenirs have not been put away to make room for the Christmas stock.    A picture book is a nice idea if you can get one narrow enough to fit, as that was always one of my favourite presents as a child.   You can also enclose a personal note and/or photo if you wish, which would be fun for kids to do.   One year I enclosed one of those across the miles from Canada Christmas cards although I debated about the English – would they know what it said. Is Merry Christmas a universally recognized phrase or even politically correct anymore – but surely it cannot be a bad thing to try to spread a little happiness?

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Packed and ready to go

    And so if you wish to participate, on Christmas morning when your living room floor is a sea of wrapping paper, may it give you pleasure to know that somewhere in the world a child has opened your box and that you have made one child’s Christmas a little bit merrier.  Wishing everyone peace and joy.  

Book of the Day:  a child’s perspective of war and refugee camps.        

They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from SudanThey Poured Fire on Us From the Sky: The True Story of Three Lost Boys from Sudan by Benson Deng

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A powerful riveting autobiography by three lost boys of Sudan, who orphaned at the ages of 5 and 7, had to leave their war-torn country and then spent ten years wandering the desert and living in refugee camps before coming to America. A haunting tale of war seen through a child’s eyes. I read this book in 2014 but their story will stay with me forever. Highly recommended.

Song of the Day:   Grownup Christmas List – Michael Buble – music link

16 thoughts on “The Good Samaritan

    • thehomeplaceweb says:

      One of the churches in the neighbourhood was advertising it an I thought it was a nice idea, especially after I watched the videos online of the kids receiving their gifts, what we might consider dollar stuff junk. Although I do admit you can get nicer stuff at the dollar store than you used to.

      Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Yes, our dollar stores are no longer all items for a dollar so they have a better selection. This morning I was listening to a story and I think the kids were in Yemen. There was no food to feed them and they were boiling leaves. On the news stories, especially around the holidays, we hear about how much food waste there is.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        That is so sad – I heard on the radio that relief workers were trying to feed the children a paste which had nutrients and some protein, but they were not eating it. Whether it was because it didn’t taste good, or so different from the food they were accustomed to, I don’t know … with all the food wasted in North America, it is disheartening to hear these stories.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Hi Joan – If you run out of historical topics to write about as we go toward Christmas, you might want to think about the 200th anniversary of the song “Silent Night” … I may mention it as I have a close-up picture of a creche but there is a ton of historical info on how Silent Night came to be … 200 years old for this beautiful song. Here is one
        story from CNN and after that an interesting historical article, but there were many more:

        https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/silent-night-salzburg/index.html

        https://www.stillenacht.com/en/

        Liked by 1 person

      • thehomeplaceweb says:

        Thanks Linda…..I just finished drafting out my Dickens Applied to Modern Life blog, will probably post it Thurs after I add some photos, then maybe one more after Christmas on Baccardi Rum Cake…..likely that’s all I’ll get done. I’ve worked on the Dicken’s post 4hrs this afternoon, and 2 1/2 tonight, so that’s enough for today. The Reader will have to wait until tomorrow……I could have walked today but didn’t as I got so involved in my writing! Good Night….

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I am trying to catch up on Comments and maybe Reader right now … I am caught up on my work and I don’t know what my boss is doing right now but I am hoping nothing happens (as in an emergency client issue) today or tomorrow. He leaves for Mexico on Thursday morning very early, and we’ve been so busy the last 18 months, that I just need a break. I need to get a little more organized here … the blogging is fun but I am having trouble keeping up with everything. It is a good thing I only follow the news on Facebook as some people are glued to Facebook all the time. I only read four people’s posts and I turned them off and just look on their Wall. I can’t go on there and see countless posts about political things or “this is what I did, ate, watched on TV” … I am going to try and write a post for tomorrow about cookies, and I wanted to do it Sunday but I had some internet issues, then I couldn’t access the pictures and I was gone on a long walk – right now, I am trying to put the walking ahead of everything as we may be having some rainy/sleety and possible some snow Sunday into Monday. I’ve made my goal and then some but still will walk, if good weather, for the joy of it and lots is happening at the Park where I walk these days. I put out some treats for the birds and squirrels – I was going to wait for Christmas, but the weather may not be so great and I wanted to monitor them eating it. I took a lot of pictures the last three days – I usually charge my phone battery, but because I have been trying to get other little things done in the house, I figured I had enough juice in the phone and didn’t take the extra battery (I don’t like to change batteries outside – what if I dropped the camera?) So missed a few shots, but that’s okay. I still have some nature shots I took the weekend before last and will using them late this year, early next year. My mom used to make the Baccardi Rum Cake every year and also the mincemeat tarts which she soaked the mincemeat mixture beginning in July. They were potent indeed!

        Liked by 1 person

      • thehomeplaceweb says:

        Make use of the nice weather while you can – I walked again today as we are being spoiled with a spell of nice weather. Worked on Dickens blog, done but at 5000 plus words (most of them Dickens) I wonder if anyone will bother to read it! Did your boss ever get his cell phone back? I think those squirrels would like some peanut butter cookies!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I am enjoying this nice weather Joan and I think the last few weeks except for a few morning where we had had rain, but it stopped, but was still damp, have been the nicest weather all Fall. We have Wednesday and Thursday, then the bottom falls out with some rainy/sleety maybe slushy mix on Friday and this snow on Sunday night – not looking forward to it and hope it bypasses us. I am uploading the pictures I took Sunday through today – I usually do it the same day on the weekend, or the next morning on a weekday. I didn’t yesterday nor today and figured I had enough battery power – I did not but I was at the end of my walk … there were about 20 Canada geese in the water and very close up so missed that shot. I have seen a lot of geese at our Park over the past few days – they must be migrating and stopped. A couple of the geese were arguing with one another – a hissing gander and likely its mate as it was much smaller and I took at least a dozen pictures of him with his pink tongue and stretching and contorting its neck while it hissed at the smaller goose – a goose with attitude. I’ll bet that anyone who is interested in Dickens and A Christmas Carol will read that post … I liked that tale. Those squirrels love the nutter butters – I’ve got some photos of them from earlier this year and they are smacking their lips. I swear they were smiling too. My boss did get his cellphone back… I will write separately to tell you what happened – it is a comedy of errors. I was going to write a post about it but I’ve been busy at work due to him getting ready to go on vacation and I was trying to keep a Christmas theme, but I did write down the “story” in case I use it down the road. Did you watch “Laverne and Shirley” Joan? I was watching a few videos showing their opening theme … I didn’t realize they was 75.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I am like you Joan – I really liked Happy Days and set aside every Tuesday night to watch it … those were the days before VCRs and I would interrupt homework to sit and watch it. They did spin off Laverne and Shirley from Happy Days. I didn’t mind the two of them, but the other characters like Lenny and Squiggy … too silly for me.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        This is what happened with Robb’s cellphone – I had written it down and I told my friend in Virginia because her husband lost his cellphone (a smartphone) and he is a commercial painter and needed a new phone to know locations of other members of the painting crew:

        On Monday, (12/10) Robb was all over town meeting with various clients. The last client he was meeting with is a guy who was one of his former students when he (Robb) taught labor law at University of Detroit Mercy Law School. This guy has two roofing businesses, many miles apart from each other. He has no office staff in the location where they met Monday night and he doesn’t go there every day. When Robb e-mailed him Tuesday morning to ask “did you find my phone” he said he’d go look later in the day. He e-mailed at 4:30 that no phone was there. I decided to try and locate the phone based on Robb’s G-mail account I had created for him years ago and which they use for the phone account. So, I logged on and was able to locate the phone in a map like Google maps. I kept clicking on the icon to find the phone was located at a residence. I found the house, located on a corner. I also discovered it was 3/10s of a mile away from where our tenant (Dan) lives. Dan was also at the social part of this meeting on Monday night … (business, then sharing “Christmas cheer”). We are not associated with the tenant – he has his own P.C. but the client’s one office is in Riverview where Dan lives and he has dropped off things to bring in for Robb a few times … things that he did not want to put in the mail in case they got lost as he didn’t have a scanner at his office. After e-mails back and forth with Robb and on the phone with him about 10 times over the course of Tuesday evening (12/11), Robb/I decided Dan should go to the Riverview police, ask a police officer to accompany him to this house and explain that we “pinged” and located the phone at their house. Robb sent about 5 e-mails to Dan that night giving him all my research/info and his suggestion – too bad that Dan was ill and had not checked his phone/e-mail last night.

        Robb figured Dan just ignored his e-mail messages and decided to write a letter to the homeowners and have Dan deliver the letter which offered a reward . So, he wrote the letter and when Dan got in this morning he asked Dan to do this for him – Dan turned to him and said “I never checked my e-mail, I wondered why I had two phones in my car – I have two cellphones, one is a backup and figured it was mine.” It is the same style as Robb’s, a Samsung Galaxy Smartphone. Dan went out to the parking lot – got the phone which was dead as a doornail having not been charged in three days and I had turned the phone on remotely and kept letting it ring for five minutes straight – it rings even if turned off.

        So, it turns out that the GPS for the phone worked somewhat … it did pinpoint the phone’s whereabouts to two minutes away or 3/10s of a mile away to where Dan’s car was parked. Our concern for what would happen if you knocked on a stranger’s door and said “hey, I think you have my phone” … well that just continues this comedy of errors … Dan knows and is friendly with the home owners … the man is a builder, the woman is a lieutenant with the Riverview Police force.

        I intended to use it as a blog post had he have gone to the door with the police (and that would have been a scream as the police lived there – a high-ranking officer) … it was a beautiful house on a corner lot. When we found out that the tenant picked it up, it lost some of the pizzazz that it might have been.

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      • thehomeplaceweb says:

        Wow what a story! I have sometimes wondered if those GPS things are all that accurate at locating things. I don’t have one in my car, but have been in a car with one giving directions and found it really distracting – I guess it’s okay if you kind of know where you are going, and just want confirmation. I did not know you could locate a phone that way.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Isn’t that incredible Joan? If he had told me that the tenant/Dan had been in the meeting, I might have put two and two together quicker – this is what I used to deal with … Dan is not associated with our office, just pays for a room, but he and Robb worked together years ago at the National Labor Relations Board. Never cared for him – loud, obnoxious and rude. He quite a job as a partner in a prestigious law firm to buy start up a jazz club. He bought an old post-office, gutted it and brought in talent – they had food and I saw the menu, and it was all Cajun/Creole food and very expensive. He got little business and shut it down and came to our office. I don’t have a smartphone so don’t know how it works on a phone, but I do have OnStar on my car and I got the free directions for a period of time – not sure how long as I never used it. The car salesman set the OnStar directions to show me how it worked to go home. I could not wait to get home as it was so distracting and I didn’t know how to turn it off. For Robb’s phone, he had to set it up with a G-mail account. I had set up a G-mail account for him years ago … so I still had the logon/password, accessed it and I tried to locate the phone … I was able to remotely turn the phone on and ring it for five minutes without stopping, whether it was shut off or not. I figured whoever found it would be unnerved. Robb’s phone required using a fingerprint to access the phone so no one could have used it. I would have made this a blog post had the police had to go to the house, but the story wasn’t as exciting after we found out Dan took it and just left it in the car.

        Liked by 1 person

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