Serve MSP brings Shoebox Christmas to children in need

October 21, 2021

By: Karla Hovde

Children in need in Minnesota and the Dakotas will receive at least one great Christmas present this year, thanks to the Shoebox Christmas project.
Shoebox Christmas, a project of the Spirit Lake Ministry Center in North Dakota, is partnering with Serve MSP, a collaboration of youth and young adults in the Minnesota Conference who work on service projects together several times a year. This project will provide hundreds of boxes of toys and gifts to children on Native American reservations in Minnesota and the Dakotas. (This project is not connected with Operation Christmas Child.)
Minnesota youth groups are invited to both collect and donate gifts for the shoeboxes and then to pack the shoeboxes from 2-4 p.m. Nov. 6 at Good Samaritan UMC in Edina. In addition to wearing masks, there will be enough space to remain physically distanced inside the church. You can register your church’s youth group.

Watch a video from the 2015 distribution of Shoebox Christmas.

“It's our hope that youth are able to come together from different church communities and serve together—and that by gathering in a larger group, we're able to do more than we could in our own youth groups,” said Sami Tierney, co-chair of the Minnesota Conference Youth Ministry Team.
Serve MSP has a goal of filling 500 shoeboxes this year. Each shoebox will include a large gift and an assortment of smaller toys, winter gear, art supplies, and hygiene essentials.
“These gifts bring joy to children and parents alike,” said Rev. Mike Flowers, co-director of Spirit Lake Ministry Center. “You share the love of Jesus Christ and make a difference in the lives of many children and adults. I wish every one of you could be here to witness the tears of joy when we deliver these small gifts of love.”
Your church can join in this effort by collecting and donating gifts between now and Nov. 6. Have your youth bring the items with them, or drop items at Good Samaritan UMC in Edina on Nov. 6. Please email with your collection plan and progress, so the event leaders can plan appropriately for the Nov. 6 event. Determine which plan will work best for your congregation. Here are some ideas:
  • Raise funds from your congregation and go on one big shopping trip.
  • Invite people to purchase all the items for one shoebox.
  • Invite people to purchase several of the same item, which will be added to several different boxes during the packing event.
  • Donate money and let Serve MSP shop for you. About $20 covers the materials for one box.
Here is the list of items people are asked to donate for the shoeboxes (make sure all items fit in one shoebox, and download and print a PDF with this list):

The “big gift” 
  • Doll
  • Soccer ball + pump
  • Lego set  
  • Stuffed animal  
Smaller gifts 
  • Winter hat 
  • Gloves/mittens 
  • Sunglasses
  • Toothbrush
  • Nail polish
  • Lotion 
  • Toy car 
  • Coloring book 
  • Crayons or colored pencils 
  • Picture book
  • Musical instrument 
  • Stickers
  • Hard candy 
  • Goldfish crackers (individual “lunchbox” packs) 
Karla Hovde is the communications specialist for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church

122 West Franklin Avenue, Suite 400 Minneapolis, MN 55404

(612) 870-0058