The current installment of the COEC began meeting in 2007.

We are currently on a "break," for no particular reason, and many little reasons - mostly pertaining to life circumstances. If anyone is interested in calling a meeting, feel free to post on the blog, join the google group (see link below) and send an email, or contact either Nancy (nancykj10@yahoo.com) or Jesse (schroeder.jesse@gmail.com) for more information.

To receive cohort emails, join our Google group.


This Sunday: Operation Christmas Child

This Sunday (Nov. 15th) we will be gathering together to participate in the Operation Christmas Child (OCC) project. OCC is a component of the Samaritan's Purse ministry, which is founded and led by Franklin Graham. The effective mission of Samaritan's Purse is to go "to the aid of the world's poor, sick, and suffering...with food, medicine, and other assistance in the Name of Jesus Christ." One way they do this is by giving needy children around the world shoe boxes filled with small, simple, but meaningful gifts.

In 2008, over 8 million shoe boxes were collected and were sent to over 115 countries around the world. This is really an incredible program, but it has to start with people who are willing to purchase the items and pack the shoe box. So, that's us!!

We will meet at 3pm at Adam and Kara's house (thanks for hosting!). First we will watch a short video about the program so that everyone has a good idea what we are participating in. Then we will drive to the store (probably Target) to purchase the items for the shoe boxes. We will return to the house to wrap, pack and prepare the boxes. Kellye and I will bring the necessary papers that are included in each box, and then we will take the finished shoe boxes to a drop off point in Grove City.

Some things you should try to bring to our OCC party:
  • An empty shoe box to be packed and given away.
  • Wrapping paper
  • Any items you would like to include in your shoe box, such as individual size soap or shampoo; hard candy; new toys; school supplies; etc. See a list of suggested items here.
  • Money - have your checkbook so you can include the $7 shipping donation. Also whatever money you plan to spend at the store.
  • Snacks?? Not a necessity, but always welcome ;)
This is really a service event. It definitely requires a sacrifice on our part. You will probably spend around $30 on a shoe box, which might be a lot of money depending on your life circumstances right now. It will also take us a few hours. And it might seem weird to spend all that time and money so a kid can get some small toys; I mean - couldn't we do more with our money? Couldn't we really get to the root of issues like poverty and war?? Maybe. But this is also a simple and easy way to bless an unknown child in an unknown part of the world in a really special way. We have no idea what a small gift like this could do. OCC promises that no child receives a shoe box twice in their life, so for each recipient, this is their first time ever receiving a gift that is this special. It's really a great opportunity for everyday people like us.


Kara Newby said...

Thanks for posting this Jesse. I think we have wrapping paper, and we don't mind sharing (so you don't have to go out and buy some). We can even listen to Christmas music while we decorate. :)

Chris said...

This sounds like a great thing which I encourage everyone to participate in. But....

When I read Jesse's comments: "couldn't we do more with our money? Couldn't we really get to the root of issues like poverty and war??" I found it interesting because I had just read these comments from a blog that I came across recently that go against the grain of conventional wisdom when it comes to giving aid to poor countries, specifically Africa.


K said...

Chris- I have actually read this book. I thought it was very interesting, and have actually had a great conversation with a grad student who is from Uganda about similar things.

While I think a lot of her ideas are thought provoking, and interesting to think about or advocate on the larger scale, I do not think it directly relates to the Operation Christmas Child. This book seems to deal more with the larger idea of aid- government aid and the ways that it hampers capitalism and innovation of the people. I don't think that sending over candy and toothbrushes is putting a dent on the larger economy of the places we are sending these things.

In the larger picture, is Moyo's theory correct? I'm not sure. As the post indicates, it is very controversial. It is a very difficult, nuanced topic and even after reading her book, and reading a lot from Kristof and Sachhs, it's hard to know what the solution is. When you look at how much the US gives, it is less than almost any other industrial country. Of course, by far less than things like defense. So some might say rather than cutting aid off, what we need to do is INCREASE it.

Anyway, it's a tough issue. I think there are a lot of Americans who like it because if given the choice of giving money away or keeping it, of course we want to keep it. But what is the answer? I don't know.

Chris said...

I agree that a cause like the one you're engaging in would probably (we hope) not create unintended negative consequences like those discussed in the article. That's why I mentioned that it sounded like a neat idea. But maybe your statement:"there are a lot of Americans who like it because if given the choice of giving money away or keeping it, of course we want to keep it." might be unwarranted. The gist of the book and the blogpost as I understand them (I'll have to read the book) isn't that we should not give money, but that it isn't given effectively, in ways that help not hurt. If some people seem reluctant to give in some instances could it be because they not only see it as wasted money and resources, but as directly harmful to those it's purported to be helping.
Anyway, OCC sounds like something similar to causes that I have taken part in and would advocate for.

Zack said...

Thanks for organizing this Jesse and Kellye.
I'm looking forward to making a box. I haven't made one since high-school. I hadn't heard that it was always the child's first gift that is really impressive considering how many boxes are given each year.

I think it's great to analyze the effects of where you give, and try to give where you feel it will be the most helpful and the need is the greatest.

Jesse said...

"K" (Kara?) - you say that the U.S. gives "less than almost any other industrial country" - is that in comparisons of percentage of GDP? Or total dollars? I just feel like I hear the U.S. giving much larger sums of money that other countries like Great Britain or France, but perhaps in percentages it is less.

Anyway, I appreciate you pointing out that the thesis of the book is in relation to government aid, not individual charity. In either situation, you are right: the whole discussion of when and what to give is highly nuanced. It also applies to missions and missionaries - many people argue it is better to support local, native workers than to send missionaries from Western countries. Interesting conversations for sure.....

IMO, in any situation of charitable giving - whether it is millions from the government, a shoebox of toys for a kid, or $2 to a person on the street - the important factor is follow through. What is the money/gift being used for? What is the ultimate purpose or goal, and is it being achieved? It seems that in the least, Moyo is pointing out that the goal of helping the continent of Africa improve economically and achieve some level of sustainability is not being realized.

K said...

HI Guys, this is K = Kara. Sorry, I have two accounts- bc of the different last names..long story. Anywho, Jesse, the US gives less in terms of GDP, not actual amount. I'm not sure where exactly we rank, but I remember being surprised when I found out the rank. (me debaters use this stat a lot when they are debating something about the developing world :) )

Anyway, we have wrapping paper, and an extra shoe box (thanks mom and dad for the new shoes!) if anyone needs one.

NancyJ said...

I wanted to say thank you to Jesse and Kellye as well. There is a song by Matthew West and Amy Grant called "Give this Christmas Away" found within Jesse's post when you click on suggested items here. (You can google it as well)

The song begins...
"What if I told you
You have the power to give someone
hope beyond their wildest dreams"

Those words of that song really got to me.

I don't ever ever want to stop wrestling with the larger realities and I want to remember that I have the power to give someone hope.


Jesse said...

Thanks to everyone who came out tonight!! 14 boxes packed and a great time hanging out - yeah!!