Lessons from OCC’s Boone Processing Center, Part II: Good Ideas


Ha! I’m an “Inappropriate Item.” [Which means things that cannot go in a shoe box.]

Today I’m sharing about a few things I found to love–some in actual shoeboxes, one in a Facebook post I found after a shift working at the Processing Center. I hope to use these ideas in a few boxes this year.




Geometry Sets



Just before leaving I read that some countries require these for upper-level students. Given how expensive imported items can be, I thought I’d try to include a set in each 10-14 year old’s box this year. I saw several of these come thru my line and loved them. With a nice protective case they just might survive to be handed down from sibling to sibling and see an entire family thru those years of school. Many stores sell packages with these tools, but no case. Those kits at back to school could be slipped into a pencil bag just as nicely. Some countries also want an appropriate calculator. I will be investigating this and buying some appropriate ones at back to school sales. Meanwhile, you can buy the tool kit at Amazon or similar ones at back-to-school at Office Depot [kit link] and similar stores. Walmart has a 10-pack of these for a very reasonable price–under $30.


Tool Kit for Boys




The box on the left came thru my line. I loved that it include a heavy TARP. This could truly save a family in the rainy season in many countries. Corrugated roofing is expensive, but a heavy tarp held in place with bricks of rocks will keep the house dry. This box also include a box of different sized washers, screws, nails, etc–not a “picture hanging kit,” but really useful sized ones.  Even though the presentation of the gift was pretty sad looking, the box held a wealth of things. Crayons, colored pencils, routine school supplies and hygiene items were also in there. Another box held the tool box shown above from Dollar Tree and a nice selection of their inexpensive tools, bungie cords, school supplies, rope and other items. Yes, it fit in a shoebox! Another great item to include is a tool belt or nail apron like the white one from Walmart. Walmart also has a low cost tool bag. Here is a video on making a sturdy denim tool belt from old jeans.



My Personal Mission This Year





The thing that upset me most was the number of boxes that just had pens and pencils rolling around in them. I always include a pencil bag in all my boxes. Yes, even for the 2-4 age group.  That way when they start school they have one–or a sibling may have it. Happily, we had as filler some bulky, padded drawstring bags that were probably meant for phones or tablets that I used in some boxes to corral the mess. Presentation matters in giving a gift, but more importantly, these kids usually have to take their school supplies back and forth to school each day. The do not often have a secure building, let alone a private desk, in which to leave them.

So….this year my goal is 400 pencil cases beyond those for my boxes. I want to supply every box that doesn’t have one at the packing party held by my travel buddies church this year! I will be making some, begging for some and buying some.  I’m really hoping some of you reading this will make or buy some for your boxes, your packing party or to send to an OCC Processing Center for filler. Here are a number of samples that you can buy or make. They can be very simple drawstring bags or far more elaborate creations. Even a ziplock bag will help, but something nice looking helps. The instructions for those to make are all on my Pinterst OCC Shoe Box Board.


I hope these ideas inspire you to try adding a few new things this year!

2 thoughts on “Lessons from OCC’s Boone Processing Center, Part II: Good Ideas

  1. Very interesting! I love the tool idea for boys. Probably since I don’t have boys, things like that aren’t on my radar. Menards store have free items (after rebate) almost every week. We have many tarps from that, and other tools as well. I’ll have to start thinking that way. Also interesting about presentation being important. I’ll admit I hadn’t given that much though. I’m also guilty of putting some pens and pencils in without a case (just didn’t think about it). I also do like to include at least one notepad and pencil/sharpener/pen/marker, probably since I enjoy writing so much —


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