Month: October 2015

It’s Shoebox Time!

It’s that time of year.

And I am SO excited!

Packing a Shoebox

If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that Operation Christmas Child is a program that has captured my heart. Because … this.

And in two and a half weeks, collection time will be begin! People from all over will be dropping off their shoeboxes full of gifts to drop-off centers. Those boxes will head to a processing center for inspection. And then they will be delivered all over the world to children in need.

I have been hitting up clearance racks and rejoicing in back-to-school sales and using coupons of all kinds to prepare for shoebox week, and my shopping is nearly done. By shopping ahead, I am able to maximize my budget and pack many more boxes than I’d normally be able to do. But if you haven’t done any of this – there’s still time!

Shoebox pile

Just grab a box and start shopping!

If you’d like tips to get started, please look through our Operation Christmas Child database for ideas and FAQs. Or feel free to leave a comment here or on our Facebook page – if I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who will!

Remember, here are the basics:

  • Choose an age group (2-4, 5-9, and 10-14) for each box. If you’re undecided, the age group with the least number of shoeboxes is 10-14-year-old boys, followed by 2-4-year-old boys.
  • Fill up the box! Remember nothing perishable or breakable. In my boxes, I include school supplies, hygiene items (double-bagged), candy (double-bagged), a stuffed animal, an article of clothing, a small sewing kit, and whatever else I can fit in there! Balls, toy cars, stickers, dolls … it’s so much fun!
  • Drop off your shoebox between November 16th and 23rd. They ask for a $7 donation per box to cover shipping. You can use cash, or (my very favorite) donate online. You will be able to print a unique barcode to attach to each box, and you will get an e-mail letting you know what country your shoebox ended up in.

Family packing time

And remember, don’t be shy about asking for help! I have friends save shoeboxes, toothbrushes (from the dentist), Happy Meal toys, tote bags, and all kinds of things for me! And a few days after Halloween, I always ask my friends for any extra candy that they’re ready to get rid of. Fortunately, the candy that’s usually leftover is the stuff that’s PERFECT for shoeboxes! I made a little picture to share on my FB page – you’re welcome to use it, too! I’ll post it November 1st.

Leftover Halloween Candy

Okay – get out there and shop! Are you in?

A surprise Disney trip …

Ready for a feel-good story? Here’s your Kindness Matters Monday tearkjerker.

Enjoy!

 

Kindness Matters Monday

Backwards Trick-or-Treating

The time has come.

Pumpkins are everywhere. Costume boxes have been taken down from the attic. Masks and capes and sparkly tiaras are in bedrooms all over America, and parents near and far are tired of hearing the same question: “How many more days until Halloween??”

Some people love this holiday, and I can see why. Some steer clear of it – and I can see why. But wherever you stand on the Halloween spectrum, it’s a fantastic time to spread kindness! And this week, that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

Backwards Trick-or-Treat challenge

So what is backwards Trick-or-Treating?

You go out. You knock on doors/stop by work desks/visit a nursing home/etc. And you leave behind a treat.

It’s so easy!

I love this challenge because you can customize it to your situation. Do you have young kids? Have them put their costumes on – they’ll love getting to wear them for an extra night! Do you know someone who could use cheering up? This is the perfect opportunity to stop by. Do you know someone homebound/in the hospital/in a nursing home? Go make their day! Want to be anonymous? Doorbell ditch a treat. And keep in mind, it certainly doesn’t have to be candy. If food allergies/medical conditions are present, you can drop off mini pumpkins, stickers and small toys (for kids), or even a handmade Halloween card.

And if you’d like, you can print off little tags to attach to these, especially if you’ll be doorbell ditching them! Here they are: Backwards Trick-or-Treat Challenge printable. (If you’d like this image larger/smaller, please let me know and I can easily make that for you. This printable has nine per page.)

So that’s it! Are you planning on participating? I would love to hear!

The Power of a Few Quarters

To ring in service Thursday, I have a little story for you.

Once upon a time (two months ago), I lost my everloving mind and agreed to host my daughter’s school book fair.

It’s been … an adventure.

We’ve been at the school an hour early and stayed an hour late (plus one evening) all week. My kids are exhausted. I’m exhausted. And not everyone has been terribly friendly. (Sidenote, y’all. Be nice to cashiers and volunteers. They’re people, too.)

So this morning, I was feeling discouraged and just wiped out. I tried to put on my happy face, but it was hard.

Some of my first customers were a brother-sister duo. She had a $1.99 item, he had a $2.99 item. He proudly handed me a $5 bill. I explained to them that there was tax added on top and that they’d need a little more money. I offered to hold the items until tomorrow if they wanted to bring the change then. The sister, without a single complaint, said, “No, it’s okay”, and reached to put her item back on the shelf.

Something about her quiet self-sacrifice touched my heart. I immediately decided to reach for my own wallet, and the volunteer next to me was turning for hers as well.

But suddenly, a hand reached toward me with a dollar bill in it.

Another child’s father, standing behind these kids in line, quietly stepped in and paid the difference.

It’s a small thing, folks. A few quarters.

But that little girl … that kind father … they made my day. They reminded me what all of this time and effort are for. And from then on, the smile on my face was genuine.

Thank you, strangers, for reminding me of the power of a few quarters.

So let’s take one more week and continue our fall service challenge. Let’s go and make a difference.

Your quarters? They’re powerful, y’all.

Ghost with quarters

The Kindness Ghost Strikes Again

Last week, the service ghost from last year re-visited for our weekly service challenge. And although I love the service ghost, I have given him a lot of thought … and I decided to give him a bit of a face lift.

Kindness Ghost

So here he is – the new and improved kindness ghost! And this week, he strikes again … with quarters.

The Quarter Challenge 015

Our service challenge is simple. Print off this printable version of the Kindness ghost (it contains the image shown above; there are four per page). Grab some quarters and some tape. And head off to spread a little bit of kindness.


The Quarter Challenge 026

There are SO many ways you can do this challenge, but here are a few of my favorites:

    • Visit a hospital and tape them on a vending machine
    • Stick some in coin-operated candy machines or toy machines for kids
    • Leave them in a shopping cart at Aldi
    • Load up a coin-operated washing machine in a laundromat

The Quarter Challenge

I love this challenge because it’s fast. It’s cheap. And it can make someone’s day.

Ghost with quarters

I am SO in.

Are you?

Kindness Matters on an Airplane

I love this story from The Kindness Blog!

Although world is full of kind and wonderful people, it is rare for stories like these to end up in our newsfeeds. They’re not flashy. They’re … well, nothing that spectacular, honestly.

Just everyday people being kind.

But what a difference an everyday person can make.

Kindness Matters Monday

Click here for a simple, sweet story of a woman whose kindness on an airplane made a big difference to a young mom.

Second Annual “Service Ghost” Challenge!

Fall has come!

You know those people who just love autumn? The ones who are on Facebook rejoicing because YAY, it’s sweater-football-cider-scarf-hot-chocolate-not-a-million-degrees-outside-season?

Yeah, that’s not me.

Because fall means winter is coming, and winter and I … we don’t get along so well.

But whether I like it or not, fall is here, and that means it’s time for one of my favorite service challenges!

Service ghost

This challenge is simple: print off a copy of our service ghost. Do something nice for someone else. Leave behind the service ghost.

And then hopefully, it gets passed on.

So easy!

Here are our ideas from last year:

  • Create a “service ghost” for your household. When you find the ghost, it means someone has done something kind for you! (Completed a chore that you usually do, cleaned your room, made you a treat, etc.) Come up with some kind of “rule” for the ghost (such as, you have 24 hours to pay it forward to someone in your family) and set it in motion.
  • Drop off a treat or a small fall-themed gift (candle, pumpkin, etc.) on someone’s desk at work or school, or leave it on someone’s doorstep.
  • Find an act of service you enjoy doing (like the quarter challenge) and leave the note behind – this way you are serving people you don’t even know!

You can use this free service ghost printable (it’s a copy of the image printed above) if you want, or you can design your own if you’re crafty.

And here’s one of the cool things about having a website that is more than a year old: here is a message I got last fall during our service ghost challenge!

“Hi, I work in an elementary school office, this morning I came to work and there was a big plate of cookies waiting there, from someone who said our staff was wonderful…and your website was at the bottom of the note! Then I looked it up, and your name is Kimber too!! Just wanted to say, love your idea, and as the recipient of “some good today” I am thrilled and anxious to pass it on! Thanks for whatever part you played in our surprise! Kimber S.”

I had nothing to do with these treats – this was a project done by one of you. But it made my day to get this note! It is so exciting to think of people all over the world joining together to do kind things.

So what’s your plan for this week? How will you participate in this challenge?