(WJBK) - 'Tis the season to start thinking about giving back - but you don't have to spend a lot of money to make a big difference in the lives of those in need.
Sometimes all it takes is a shoebox.
For those planning to give overseas for Christmas, now is prime time for planning.
"Operation Christmas Child is an organization that packs shoeboxes for children around the world, and a shoebox can be packed by anyone," said Suzie Aheimer.
Operation Christmas Child delivers to more than 100 countries across the world where many children are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease and famine.
Here's what you do: find an empty shoebox, fill it with toys, tooth brushes, school supplies, anything a child might like.
"To have one notebook and three pencils can take a child in the Philippines or in Zambia through one year of school," said Aheimer. "So it's truly such a blessing to receive those school supplies."
Some children ask for small toys, that are easy to hide and less likely to be stolen.
"Often times at orphanages or group homes, children are sharing one washcloth or one bar of soap, or one toothbrush with 15 children," said Aheimer. "It's really hard for our children to understand that."
Area coordinator Suzie Aheimer hopes to fill and collect more than 45,000 shoeboxes in the metro Detroit area. A cause very dear to her.
"I was very fortunate to go on a distribution to the Philippines in 2014," she said. "And the children that received our shoeboxes lived in very dire straits."
She'll never forget the look on a boy's face, after he received a box of flip flops.
"Immediately, this child who received a gift for the first time went over to his grandmother, and gave his flip flops to his grandmother," Aheimer said. "Here's a child that has never received a gift, and found it in his heart to share those flip flops with his grandmother, who had no shoes on her feet."
For those wanting to join in, you can drop off your shoebox to one of several locations between November 13 and 20, 2017. Everyone is encouraged to also include a picture of your family, and a letter of kindness.
"We truly believe in praying over the shoeboxes and hope that the Lord will direct those shoeboxes to the child who needs it the most," Aheimer said.