All I want for Christmas!

Cambodian schools require all students to have appropriate uniforms

The Grinch (me?) is a grouch! Right? Its “Christmas shoebox” time! (If you are not familiar with this program, Samaritan’s Purse, a ministry founded by Franklin Graham, seeks to provide orphans with a shoebox full of small presents at Christmas. ) It’s a sweet idea! I wish I was clever enough to think of a fund raiser that made me come out looking like Mother Teresa, all my critics like Scrooge, and fund FCOP for a year to come. My hat goes off to Franklin!

Now, Samaritan’s Purse does good things with the money they receive, and the kids like the stuff, but the main benefit is to fund Samaritan’s Purse. The participants (you) purchase a shoebox full of a prescribed list of items, and then send in $7.00 along with each shoebox for shipping and handling. This raises a lot of money for the ministry, as the actual shipping cost is small percentage of what is raised. The shoeboxes are sent to a common collection point where they are loaded on 40 foot shipping containers. Once these containers hit port at the designated receiving country, the recipients (us) pay for all local shipping and distribution.

We participated in this once. We won’t do it again. Why? 1) We only received half the boxes that we needed, so, half our kids got nothing, which was a bit of a disappointment. 2) It cost us several thousand dollars of operating money to receive the shoeboxes through customs and distribute them. 3)  Christmas is not commercialized in Cambodia, so gifts are not expected. 4) The kids received paddle balls, plastic toys, rubber dolls, and stuff which did make them happy for a short time, but the items were gone or broken in days.

So? What do our kids really want, and need?  New school uniforms. For $7.00 we can get everything but the shoes ($9.00 buys it all). They can’t go to school without these. They are sent home! So, you tell me; what is more important? Now, please, here is what I’d like you to do. Send Samaritans Purse a $7.00 donation (they’re a good organization) and forget the shoebox. We’ll all save money. Then, take what you’d spend to fill the box, probably another $7.00 to $10.00,  and send it to FCOP via: http://fcopi.org///give  . Yet, I fear, that if I ask you to send a donation for $7.00 for a uniform, some of you will think I’m Scrooge for depriving the kids of fun presents.  Bummer, I’m a Grinch!

Last month I was speaking at The King’s Harvest Church in Terra Haute, Indiana, and the kids there had purchased 90 uniforms this year with pocket change they collected, and people still sent Samaritan’s Purse some shoeboxes. Win-Win!  You’d think they could never do it, but they did! Now, if I could just figure out how to get you to buy a uniform, put it in a shoebox, deliver it to a collection point, and then mail me $7.00 US to boot for shipping and handling, I’d really have it made. I’m just kidding! ( Because the uniforms have to be precise, in both format and color, for specific sex and age groupings.) But, I can dream! Right?

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