I recently have taken part in a charity gift drive sponsored by Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) which collects boxes of toys for children in third-world countries.
Here is how it works:
You take a box roughly the size of a shoe box and you fill it with items that a child may want or need. You select a tag that is age and gender graded so that you can target your gift items for their specific needs. They have a list of essential things they'd like you to give (basically toiletries and sanitary items) but you're able to fill them up with a lot of cool toys as well.
I was excited to take part in this because I received similar gifts to this when I was a child. I did not grow up in a third-world nation by any means but I did grow up in a poor household in a rural community. My mom would pick up mesh stockings from the fire department that were collected for poor families and these would be our gifts on Christmas morning. I was truly excited to have something that was meant for me. I remember having probably about three lean Christmas times but eventually our family got on our feet to some degree and we no longer relied on charity but were blessed with extra to give to others.
From this background I jumped at the chance to give to others. I was told that the dollar store would provide a great assortment of the right sized toys to cram into a shoebox and this turned out to be great advice. There was something about these toys though that turned out to be a bit ironic:
All of these toys were probably manufactured in the same third-world countries they were returning to as gifts.
This really did sort of bum me out. Talk about scraps from the table. I'm sending them items that were made in their neighborhoods after they were first made available in my marketplace. It's not like I have much of an alternative at this point. I couldn't personally make them any toys that they'd like and I'm sure they'll prefer the ones I passed along...but it still feels funny.