"Mom," Izzi called bursting into the kitchen. "Have we got any shoe boxes?"
"There are a few stored in the garage."
"Great! I hope there are three. Ike, Ruby Jane, and I want to fill them for some poor kids."
Mom smiled. "Oh, you've heard about "Operation Christmas Shoe Box." A lot of organizations are collecting filled boxes and sending them to children who are ill, or disabled, or who might not receive any gifts for Christmas."
Ruby Jane bounced in bringing her squirming guinea pig, Brownie, with her. "My teacher told us about them. Will you drive us to the dollar store, Izzi, to buy some stuff?"
"Sure. It will be so cool to help someone have a happy Christmas."
In a few minutes, Ike had retrieved the boxes, and they were on the dining room table. Brownie wriggled free and made a flying leap into one.
"Oh, Brownie, you silly, you can't use the box for your second home." Ruby Jane scooped him up and placed him back in his cage.
"Our teacher suggested we put pencils, a small notebook, toothpaste, a tooth-brush, mittens, a little candy, and some toy, book, or puzzle in the box."
Ruby Jane, who'd been sitting on the floor making a card with her punching tool, got up and raced from the room.
After a few minutes, she came twirling back accompanied by a yapping Charlie. She was holding her pig bank. "Hope I fed my pig enough coins," she said with a giggle shaking the bank.
A few days later, the top of the dining room table looked lumpy as it held all of the goodies and gadgets to fill the boxes. Mom had popped some corn to put in the boxes to cushion the items and keep them from rattling against each other.
"Let's pack them, and we'll go to the post office. I got the address off the web site. We'll mail ours to Rupert, Idaho, because it's closest to where we live," Mom explained. "Now, I need help with my project. I've been asked to decorate a small Christmas tree to take to a refugee family, so we can all work together doing that."
As soon as they got home, Ike got out the red and green construction paper, a ruler, scissors, and glue. Soon the din-ing room table groaned again under weight of Brownie's cage (he had demanded to see what was going on) and eight elbows, as they began to measure, cut, and glue. Loops were formed into chains to circle the little tree.
Everyone was tired and needed to rest before they started stringing cran-berries and popcorn to add to the tree. Mom made hot chocolate and added a candy cane as a stirrer, then she disappeared.
Delicious aromas began drifting in from the kitchen.
"Oh, YUM!" shouted Ike, "Mom's making our favorite treat — her famous Christmas corn."
Charlie, who had been lounging in front of the fireplace, jumped up, his nostrils plunging up and down as he raced to the kitchen, hoping some of the yummy corn had fallen onto the floor.
"Is there enough Christmas corn to take a box to my teacher?" asked Ruby Jane gobbling down the delicious treat.
"We can always make some more," Mom said. "Let's buy those cute boxes from the Oriental take-out. You can decorate them, and we'll add our famous corn for a fun gift."
"Let's not give it all away, though," Ike said licking the stirring spoon while Charlie tried to leap high enough to steal a bite.
"Christmas is so much fun when we do things to help others," Izzi said nib-bling on the popcorn.
NOTE: To send shoe boxes, type "Christmas shoe boxes for needy children" into a search engine like Google or Yahoo on the internet, and choose a link that interests you.
For Christmas Corn recipe see our Kids' Activity Page