I hope you had a joyful Christmas! I had a wonderful time with my family and with great friends. And Santa even found my house, which is always a plus. 🙂
Do you remember The Shoebox Challenge? (If you’re new to Let’s Do Some Good Today, you can check it out here.) This year, with the help of some wonderful friends, I was able to pack 33 shoeboxes. It was such a joy to do! If you participated this year – thank you! If not, there’s always next year. And now is the time to start!
First of all, I’d like to share my exciting news. If you pay your $7 shipping donation online, you are able to print off tags to add to the top of your boxes. When your boxes are received, you get an e-mail telling you where they ended up. Two days before Christmas, I opened my inbox and found four e-mails from Samaritan’s Purse. This year, my shoeboxes (and possibly the shoeboxes shipped by the winners of our challenges) ended up in Mexico, Ukraine, Ghana, and Indonesia. So fun!
If you’d like to pack a shoebox next November, I’d encourage you to start thinking about it right now. Packing can always be done at the last minute, but if you start planning now, you can stretch your budget!
If you’re new to packing shoeboxes, you can read my original posts here and here. You can also check out my Pinterest page – I have this board that’s full of shoebox ideas!
If you’re new to this and you’d like to pack one box this idea, now is the time to make a list of the things you’d like to include. Each month, just buy one item and set it aside. If you’re on a tight budget, this is a great way to pack a shoebox! And if you put aside a few quarters each month, you’ll easily collect your $7 shipping donation. Remember to buy things “in season”. (For instance, buy crayons in August when school supplies are on sale.)
And speaking of that — it’s time to start shopping! Why? Because Christmas items are on clearance now! I do a lot of my shoebox shopping in the first week of January. Soon, Target will have their Christmas items marked down to 70% off (if they’re not already), and Michaels will be down to 80%. These are the stores that I have had great luck at in the past, but keep your eyes out everywhere you go! And as the weather warms up, start looking for winter items on clearance. Small things like hats and mittens are fantastic additions to your shoebox.
A few final notes. I highly recommend the website Clip With Purpose. This website is dedicated to shoebox packing on a budget. I love the tips that they share – everything from craft ideas to sales to clearance finds. I have liked them on Facebook, so the great deals pop up in my newsfeed. And speaking of Facebook – if you haven’t liked Operation Christmas Child, I’d recommend it. All year, they share stories and videos from children who receive the shoeboxes. It’s great motivation to keep packing!
This week, in fact, they shared this little story: ” “My name is Anna, and I am 9-years-old. In my life, miracles just do not happen. I live with my mom and I don’t have a dad. My mom has to work a lot though it’s hard to find a job in the place where we live. To sell fish on the market place is the only option. Very often my mom is not at home. Once during the school break, men and women came to me to bring me a gift. I was very surprised. My first thought was that it’s not for me, but they confirmed that it was mine. Then those people told me that God has love for me and He will not leave me and my mom alone if we would come to Him in prayer. So thank you everybody – I don’t know who you are and how you know me that you’ve brought me a gift. I am very glad and I tell everyone – just believe – the miracles come true! I am sure about it.” – Note from shoebox recipient in Ukraine.”
What are the odds that this little girl received one of the shoeboxes I packed? Very, very slim. But it still touched my heart. Maybe she DID receive one of my boxes. Maybe she opened it and cuddled the doll that I was delighted to find on clearance at Target. Maybe she was touched to find the soup and toothpaste that I carefully couponed for at CVS. Maybe the toothbrush that my dentist donated was an answer to her prayers. Maybe she combed her hair and pulled it back with her new headband and she felt beautiful. Maybe she looked at the box, lovingly wrapped by my friends, and she realized that somewhere, strangers cared enough about her to pack this little box of gifts.
Maybe whoever opened my shoeboxes realized that miracles can happen.
And so, friends – for those maybes – I pack again.
Will you join me?
If you have any questions about Operation Christmas Child, please let me know – I’ll try to answer it, or I’ll see if I can find an answer for you! Thank you SO much for joining me on this adventure.