Today’s Kindness Matters Monday story was submitted by … me. 🙂

So here’s the thing. (You know this if you’ve been around here for a while.) I LOVE Operation Christmas Child. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. Seriously. I love the idea of giving a gift to a child who has never had one. I love teaching my kids to think of others. And so every year, I pack boxes.

Shoebox pile

Last year, I was teaching a couponing class and I mentioned that one of the reasons I love shopping with coupons is that it allows me to pick up a lot of the items I need for my shoeboxes for free, or almost-free. I mentioned that my goal was 30, and someone gasped. “I made a shoebox last year, and I spent $40 on just that one!” I agreed with her that it could easily cost that much if you go out and buy everything at once. But since I’ve been doing this a few years, I know what “stock up” prices are, and that’s when I shop.

Fast forward to today. I stopped by Walgreens because they have unbeatable prices on many school supplies. (Remember, this is the time of year to buy school supplies!) One item I especially wanted: pencil sharpeners. They were on sale this week, and they are a nicer quality than the cheap dollar store ones that I’ve picked up in the past. I located everything else I needed, but no luck with the pencil sharpeners. But one of the employees came by at just the right time and helped me find them.

“How many do you need?” she asked me.

“Let me check the ad. … Okay, the limit is four. I’ll take four. Thanks!”

“Is that all you need?”

“Well, no. I need a lot. But four is a great start.”

“Really. How many do you need?”

“Well … 31.”

She stared blankly at me. I quickly explained about Operation Christmas Child, and how my goal is to pack 31 shoeboxes for my 31st birthday party in November. When I finished, she paused …Family packing time

And started helping me count out 31 pencil sharpeners.

And then we started on the pens (at 29 cents per pack).

And the erasers.

Y’all, I got half of my school supplies purchased tonight. For 31 kids. For less than $1 per kid.

So here’s the thing. I normally am not an advocate of pushing the limits when it comes to couponing. But I know the stores in my area. The managers know me, and they have usually been very gracious about allowing me to get more than the advertised limit when I explain that I am shopping for items to donate (as long as I don’t empty the shelves). So it wasn’t a huge shock to be told that I could buy what I needed.

But it wasn’t just the permission.

It was the kindness.

It was … counting pencil sharpeners with me.

It was asking if I’d prefer black pens or blue pens or a mix.

It was taking the time to talk to me about this program that I love, and these children who I have never met … but who I love as well.

Tonight, in the school supply aisle of Walgreens …

Kindness mattered to me.

Kindness Matters Monday


Has there been a time in your life when kindness has made a difference? I’d love to share your story as a future Kindness Matters Monday post! Please e-mail me at [email protected]

6 Comments on Kindness Matters Monday: School Supply Edition

  1. What a wonderful testimony to the power of kindness! And we’re also impressed that you have noticed it doesn’t have to cost a lot to share kindness with others. Thanks for your inspirational story. (And, we agree, Operation Christmas Child is a great way to get kids involved in sharing with others.)

  2. That is awesome that there are people that still want to be helpful and kind! Sometimes I look at society in general and start to lose hope, but I am always encouraged when I hear great stories like yours! Thanks for sharing this!

  3. This warms my heart! We’ve been stocking up at the penny and quarter sales at Office Max and Office Depot. Let me know if you are looking for anything specific and I’ll let you know if I see them!

    • Thanks so much for that offer, Holly! The big things I still need: Crayola crayons (I’d love to get the name brand for under 50 cents), good quality pencils (the best deal I’ve seen seems to be Dixon at Walmart), and some kind of “slider box” or small pencil case for the school supplies. What about you — need extra eyes for anything?