A Little Background
I enjoy packing shoeboxes for children with Operation Christmas Child. My children once lived in an orphange in the former USSR–my son received some sort of shoebox gift, so we’ve done them for many years. Operation Christmas Child is only one way that Samaritan’s Purse helps people around the world. They have helped people in the so-called Caravan of refugees coming the Texas border as well as those in disasters such as earthquakes or hurricanes or other refugee situations. They take specialist physicians in to perform surgeries for people who would never receive treatment otherwise and do a lot of other humanitarian outreach activites.
Operation Christmas child provides a one-time gift shoebox, packed by a volunteer or a church or an organization, filled with HOPE. Hope–not politics. Yes, there is an opportunity to receive instruction and accept Christ, but it is not madatory in order to receive a gift. Yes, THAT Franklin Graham, who supports you-know-who a lot, is inovled. So what? It’s about the kids–not about the White House.
Now that we’ve got THAT out of the way…..
2018 was my year of OCC–every cent possible went to my shoeboxes and my school supply packs for underfilled boxes (more on these in an upcoming post). Here are the 113 or so shoeboxes and roomfull of boxes of school supply packs that I packed in 2018. The need for well-filled boxes and packs IS this great.
What’s New in My Shoeboxes for 2019
The greatest need is always for boxes in the 2-4 and 10-14 age groups. That’s the group I focus on each year, but I still pack boxes for all the age groups. The need is there for all, believe me.
In the 10-14 age group:
For both boys and girls
4 boys and 4 girls will receive these. In many places students today need a scientific calculator (I hope this one is ok!) and a geometry set for secondary school. That’s a burden for parents on top of required uniforms (in many places) and regular school supplies. I could only manage 8 this year. I hope to increase the number each year.
Most of my 10-14 age girl boxes will include a small “starter” pack of washable, cotton sanitary napkins, washcloths, extra underware, extra soap and picture insturctions. 1 heavy pad, 2 regular pads and 2 liners. I bought these on Amazon–I purchased 3 different brands/styles to see what the quality was. I’d like to have bought them on Etsy, but most of the affordable ones were these–made in China. Days for Girls has the gold standard of all such kits–this is just to help a girl out, it is not a full menstruation supply solution.
In the 2-4 age group
See that yellow cup and bowl? I was so happy to finally find more of these cups/bowls at Kroger! They are so easy to pack. I also include a child’s spoon or fork/spoon set. I get those in the Dollar Spot at Target (VERY nice quality & mine were 50% off this year) or at Dollar Tree. Last year I used a popular set from Wal-mart but they were harder to fit in. A child with his/her own serving of food is better nourished than one fed off someone else’s plate.
EVERY age I try to put in shoes or flip-flops–sometimes both!
Organization Changes I’m Sticking With
Packing more than two or three shoeboxes when you are on a tight budget means shopping year around and storing stuff. It can take over your house if you aren’t careful–especially when your house is small like mine. I do not have a walk-in closet, a garage or a basement and only hard-to-access attic space over part of the house. So, my home office is also my shoebox and school supply room.
I have two of these shoe organizers–one on each side of my office door. One is for water bottles, many of which I stuff with school supplies and donate as box “filler,” and one is for actual shoes for shoeboxes.
I give a complete set of clothing, including underwear, in most boxes. This year I “invested” in cheap gallon storage bags and put all of the clothing for a box in a Ziplock bag, then sorted them in these plastic baskets that fit my IKEA (bookshelf) shoebox “command center”. MUCH neater!! I LOVE this system. It works. I did intend to label them, but didn’t get around to that. You can reuse the bags year-after-year to save money.
How about you? Are you doing or adding anything new for your 2019 shoeboxes? Leave me a comment or a link to your own post on this topic.
Want to read more of my shoeboxes posts?
Check out the word cloud in the right sidebar–you can just click on Operation Christmas Child. As you scroll through the posts list there will also be a link to click on to see older posts–those include my own stories of the children I think of as I pack these gifts.
This is so thorough, I can’t really think of anything you haven’t covered. I too collect things all year. I picked up a few promo things at the state fair yesterday that will go into boxes. I love this time of year with all the cheap/free school supplies. I’ve gotten several boxes of crayons for .25 this year. Do you recommend them, or not so much? Could they melt?
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Put box of crayons in a Ziplock bag just in case. Don’t send glue sticks. Every kind of school supply beyond that are useful. Dollar General has colored pencils 50 cents per box.
You buy all of this yourself?? I’m impressed and humbled by how much time and thought you devote to helping strangers in this way. We don’t have this organisation in the UK as far as I know but there are may appeals to donate gifts that can be given to children in care. I tend to focus my on young homeless people – they’re in the 16-18 year old bracket and often have been thrown out of their home because a parent had a new partner.
That’s great to help teens. Yes, you do have this organization 🙂 Yes, I do it myself–some people give me things, but it’s about 98% me. Next year has to be much smaller–massive dental work and other stuff has to get done instead. Then I’ll be back at it in 2021.
Dental work in US is hugely expensive from what I’ve heard.
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Anything medical of any sort is expensive here even with “good” insurance.
Forgot to say I’m a shopping mercenary. I never, ever pay full price! Online groups help by alerting shoebox packers to big sales. I also hit yards sales and garage sales.
What a wonderful project! It’s so lovely to see how you’re making a real difference in children’s lives.
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