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Pop your Shoebox
Under the Tree
by 13th November 2022

Cranfield Christmas Shoebox Appeal

This year House to Haven is supporting Operation Christmas Child. If you would like to contribute to this great cause please join us in hitting our 55 boxes target! All shoebox donations no matter how small are welcome!


In 2021, a fantastic 25 shoeboxes were sent to children in Central Asia, this year we're aiming for 55 boxes! We'd love for you to join in and help bring a little Christmas cheer to a child this winter. 

Operation Christmas Child was founded in North Wales in 1990 as a way of sending gifts and supplies to children in Romanian orphanages. By 1993, the initiative had become so popular that it was taken on by the existing Christian charity, Samaritan’s Purse, which continues to run it today. The project sees schools, community groups and individuals pack practical gifts and toys into festively wrapped shoeboxes, which are then checked in warehouses and quarantined for COVID precautions, before being distributed to needy children worldwide. Last year, 1.3 million shoeboxes left the UK bound for children affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine, and disease to 13 countries including Armenia, Romania, Kyrgyzstan, Mozambique and Swaziland. Boxes were also sent from Germany, Ireland and The Americas.

How to Pack a Shoebox

Step 1 - Find a Shoebox
  • Find an empty medium sized shoebox

  • Wrap the box and lid separately in colourful Christmas wrapping paper. 

  • Decide if your gift is for a boy or a girl and select an age category:
    2-4 years
    5-9 years
    10-14 years

Step 2- Fill with Gifts
  • Fill your shoebox with a selection of fun toys, hygiene items and school supplies. 

  • If possible, include one or two extra special items you know a child will love such as a doll, cuddly toy or deflated football with pump. 

  • See the Gift Suggestions below for more ideas or you can download the list here.

Gift Suggestions

  • Toys - a football and pump, cuddly toys, dolls, toy cars, small musical instruments, yo-yos, skipping ropes, balls, small puzzles etc.

  • School Supplies - pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons or felt pens, stamps & ink pad sets, writing pads or notebooks, solar calculators, colouring & picture books etc.

  • Hygiene Items - toothbrush, bars of wrapped soap, comb or hairbrush, flannel etc.

  • Other Items - hat, gloves, scarf, sunglasses, cap, socks, t-shirt, flip-flops, hair accessories, jewellery set, watch, wind-up torch etc.

  • DO NOT INCLUDE - toothpaste, sweets, lotions and liquids; used or damaged items; war-related items; seeds, gum, chocolate or food items; religious or political literature; medicines, aerosol cans, sharp or fragile items. Items packed from this list will be removed from shoeboxes.

Step 3 - Print a Label
  • Print out the appropriate boy/girl label, marking if your gift is for a boy or a girl. 

  • Select an age category 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14.

  • Attach the label to the top of your shoebox.

  • You can print your label here

Step 4 - Personalise
  • If you wish you can personalise your shoebox by including a handwritten note and a photograph of yourself or your family. This is a great way to get the kids involved.

  • You can download colouring sheets here, a colouring sheet maze and word search here

Step 5 - Follow your Box
  • A suggested donation of £5 is gratefully accepted to The Sarmatians Purse to cover project costs, including shipping, to enable a local church or group overseas to lead a safe, well-organised children's event where your shoebox will be given to a child in need. 

  • Donate online at Follow Your Box  

  • Print off the barcode

  • Place your barcode inside your shoebox(s) on top of the contents. Your barcode will then be scanned to track its journey. The Smartians will then email you February, with a link to discover your shoebox destination.

Step 6 - Drop Off  Your Shoebox
  • Place a rubber band around each closed shoebox

  • Drop your shoebox off at House to Haven and pop it under the Christmas tree by 2pm, Sunday 13th November.

  • You can find our address here.

House to Haven is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with The Smartains. We do not accept responsibility for any payment transaction for donations to the Smartains. We simply are doing a good deed to organise this fantastic project for the local community. Samaritan's Purse International is a registered charity within England and Wales (1001349) for more information please visit

House to Haven supporting Operation Christmas Child
House to Haven supporting Operation Christmas Child
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