How to Pack a Gift-Filled Shoe Box


How to Pack an Operations Christmas Child Gift-Filled Shoe Box:

1.  Select a shoe box

Use an empty shoe box (standard size, please) or a small plastic container. You can wrap the box (lid separately), but wrapping is not required. Most importantly, pray for the child who will receive your gift.

2.  Boy or Girl?

Determine whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl, and the child’s age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.

Print out the appropriate boy/girl label by downloading the artwork. Mark the correct age category on the label, and tape the label to the top of your box.







To print out the Boy/Girl Label and Donation Form: click on Boy_Girl_Labels_and_Donation_Form

3.  Fill your shoe box with a well-balanced variety of items from the following categories:


  • School Supplies – Items such as pens, pencils, pencil crayons, note pads, and picture books
  • Hygiene Items  – Items such as: facecloth, toothbrush, comb, and soap. Please place soap in a seal-able bag
  • Toys & Other Gifts – Items such as: stuffed animals, small musical instruments, hair clips, toy jewelry, t-shirts, and socks
  • Personal Note  – Include a personal note and/or a photo in your shoebox (not inside the donation envelope)


  • Decks of standard playing cards (other card games such as UNO are allowed)
  • Food or candy: Including gum (due to customs regulations)
  • Used items (due to customs regulations)
  • Toothpaste (due to customs regulations)
  • Liquids or items that could leak, melt, freeze, or break – Shampoo, creams, lip balm, bath gels, mirrors, or glass, etc. (these can damage other items in the shoebox).
  • Items that can scare or harm a child – War-related toys, knives, and toy guns, etc.


Customs and health officials in a growing number of the countries have either changed their food safety laws or decided to enforce the laws in place. In order to enforce these laws, they are taking more time to carefully inspect box after box, searching for candy or food. These inspections are delaying our distributions, and sometimes forcing us to re-direct shoeboxes to other countries, while we work through the issue with government officials.

Given these circumstances, rather than risk having deserving children not receive gift-filled shoeboxes, we’ve decided to stop allowing the boxes to depart Canada with any type of candy or food inside. Volunteers at our shoebox processing centers will be monitoring to ensure any food items in the boxes are donated to local charities.

Eliminating candy may be sad news for some Canadian shoebox donors. But it’s necessary so ALL the boxes you pack are cleared through every step of the receiving countries’ customs and health inspection processes and into the hands of hurting children in countries like Costa Rica, Senegal, and Haiti.

Rather than viewing this as bad news, please make it good news by ensuring the boxes you pack are filled to the brim with toys, school supplies, hygiene items, and other items needy children would love.

4.  Make your $10 Donation

Please donate $10 or more for each shoe box you prepare to help cover shipping and other project costs.

Simply make your donation online or place your cheque or cash donation in an envelope inside your shoebox, on top of the items. If you make an online donation, you do not need to include the donation receipt in the shoebox. Tax-deductible receipts will be issued for donations of $15 or more.

5.  Drop off

Place a rubber band around each closed shoe box and drop it off at the
collection center nearest you during the collection week.

Click on the Collection Center to find a location near you!