small cars, balls, dolls, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, small Etch A Sketch®, toys that light up or make noise (with extra batteries), Slinky®, etc.
pens, pencils and sharpener, crayons or markers, stamps and ink pad sets, writing pads or paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.
toothbrush, toothpaste, mild bar soap (in a plastic bag), comb, washcloth, etc.
Hard candy and lollipops (please double bag all candy), mints, gum, T-shirts, socks, ball caps; sunglasses, hair clips, toy jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries)
As a family, we had agreed to do one shoebox for a girl, and one shoebox for a boy. This year we chose to do items for two children ages 10-14 years old. At some point in the shopping trip, I realized how sobering it was to realize that for some children a pad of paper, pencils, and stickers were considered a luxury item. When I purchased some toothbrushes and toothpaste, the idea really came to settle in my heart and mind. We are so blessed here in the United States. Many items to us are necessities and common staples of our every day life. To children in other countries, those same items may be considered true luxuries and priceless gifts.
For the boy package, we purchased stickers, pads of paper, pencils, crayons, small slinky, small book, pencil sharpener, kaleidoscope, kazoo, skipper jump rope, ball, toothbrush, toothpaste, hand puppet of a triceratops, and some other odds and ends.
For the girl package, we purchased much of the same, but instead of a kazoo we included a set of bells and the puppet was a ladybug.
Perhaps it is because this is the week of Thanksgiving, that I am particular thankful for things I normally take for granted. I’ve often thought about how blessed I am that I live where I do in regards to my hearing loss and Meniere’s disease. I live within “spitting distance” of the Listening Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and my cochlear implant surgeon was one of the best in the country. I can easily purchase batteries for my CI, and have access to other assistive listening devices. I live within 65 miles of Fidos For Freedom, who only match assistance dogs with people within a certain radius of their organization. It is one of their commitments to provide follow-up training and support for the life of the dog. Trainers are all volunteers and live locally, so to participate and become matched with one of their special dogs one must live within a certain “workable distance”.
If you are having difficulty finding a way to be thankful this year due to life’s stresses, problems and trials… pack a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child! I think it will quickly help you discover things you are truly grateful for in the end! Plus… you will make a difference to a child who may never know the true meaning of Christmas if not for you! Check out the link and find out where the nearest drop-off location is for YOU!
© 2009 Hearing Loss Journal