Bears for Boxes

Every year our family participates in Operation Christmas Child (OCC). This wonderful ministry of Samaritan’s Purse (SP) distributes shoe boxes, packed with gifts for children as well as the Gospel message in his/her language, all over the world. It is a true joy to do something for others during a season that lends itself to materialism and often, especially in children focused on their lists for Santa, selfishness. To see my children exclaim, “Look, Mom… I bet a little girl about Sarah’s age would just LOVE this. Can we put it in our box this year?” is music to my ears. Through OCC, my children have learned a little of the joy of giving and blessing others.

Several years ago, we took this joy and spread it throughout the entire year in a slightly unusual way. My oldest girls had learned to knit. It began when my friend, Micki, showed me some little bears she’d designed. She was knitting for SP and knowing my girls’ love of knitting, asked if they’d be willing to make a bear. She showed my girls several of the adorable bears and they “oohed” and “awed.” They were new knitters and not sure if they could handle the pattern. They’d never knitted anything more complicated than a dishcloth. Could they really knit two bear sides, sew them together, and have them look nice enough for a child to want to love? We weren’t sure, but we sure were excited to try! My friend gave us a pattern and we all got started!

To our delight, the little bears weren’t difficult. Soon the girls were knitting like crazy and calculating how many bears could be produced in 8 months at the rate of a bear every two weeks. The girls were knitting with every spare moment of time they had and soon decided to enlist help! We invited several other knitting friends to join us and formed a group that met monthly. We met at a local yarn shop and our project was advertised. Soon knitters all over our county donated yarn for our project. Many donated bears. These little guys were so sweet. Who could resist knitting up one or two?

After months of knitting, donation day finally came. What a joy to discover we had over 150 cuddly bears! Every bear was unique. Some were pink for baby girls and some blue. Some were big and some tiny. Some had tails or little accessories like hair bows or vests. Though they were all different, they were all prayed over. As a group, we prayed for each recipient. These little bears were made with love by children wanting to bless other children whom they most likely would never see or meet. To donate our bears, all the knitters met at the OCC building of Samaritan’s Purse. What a wonderful experience that was! Our girls were given a tour of the facility and made to feel that their efforts would make a tremendous difference in the lives of over 150 children.

Our group on donatation day

A few months later, we received from a friend who went on a shoebox distribution, a hug from God in the form of a picture of a beautiful little girl. In one hand she held a picture of our group that we included in the box. In the other hand she held her bear made by our girls. That picture has been on my fridge ever since – a reminder that even children can use their talents to bless others. We pray that through that little bear, she will know of Christ love for her. That is the goal of Operation Christmas Child and the prayer of our hearts for her.

Last week, I received a letter from an OCC administrator asking if we’d be willing to knit bears for boxes again. Oh, I’d love to! If you are a reader and would like the pattern, please let me know. I’ll send it to you. We’d love to donate your bears. If you’re a local knitter who is ten or older and would like to participate, leave a comment. I’ll need to find a place to meet which can be a challenge, but I’d love to knit more bears for boxes!

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6 Responses to “Bears for Boxes”

  1. Angela W Says:

    Hi Tina- you can meet at Blackbear books. They have that cafe and also a spot in front of the children’s section to sit and knit. Of course there’s also the yarn shop in there and a table there too. We go on Thursday nights to knit with ladies there. If you want I can let them know you want to use the space for knitting. They love having knitters there! 🙂 The girls are not up to more than scarves yet, but if it’s not too complex, I might be able to make one.

  2. Tina Says:

    Angie,

    I thought about Black Bear Books after I wrote this. That would be wonderful! AND… it would give our girls a chance to get together 🙂

    We’ll talk really soon and try to get this together! I am sure your girls could knit a bear!

  3. Angela W Says:

    Well, email me whenever you want to get together. I love being free from obligation all next week (minus Thursday of course).

  4. The Jobe Journal » Blog Archive » Small Stuffed Knitted Bear Says:

    […] The Jobe Journal « Bears for Boxes […]

  5. Melissa Says:

    Hey Tina. Have you ever considered taking your girls (the older ones, they have to be 13) to an OCC warehouse? It is an amazing opportunity to serve and for anyone who has contributed boxes before this is a great next step. it allows you to see just how BIG this project is… and SP does a wonderful job! The closest warehouse to you is probably Atlanta.

  6. Tina Says:

    Melissa, Thanks for your comment! Yes, for the first time, my older girls and I are volunteering in just a couple of weeks! We are actually blessed to live only a mile from a distribution center. It seems we should have done this earlier, but they are just now old enough. We can’t wait!!!

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