As we come upon the holiday season, I wanted to take a minute to share some ideas for giving. It is so important to remember that this time of year is more about giving than receiving.
Reader R recently packed up boxes for Operation Christmas Child with her 3 children. This is an AMAZING gift - teaching your children to be generous. We stock up all year long and this is an opportunity to give back. If you are unfamiliar with Operation Christmas child, you can read more about it here. If you have little money to donate, but have an overflowing stockpile, this opportunity is perfect. Even if you can’t prepare the entire box, find a church or organization that is accepting donations!
Reader R’s story:
My first experience with Operation Christmas Child was when I was in high school and went to the processing center in Charlotte, NC with my Church youth group. I had never seen so many shoeboxes! I immediately wanted to pack my own but it was too late that year. Every year after that I packed boxes, shopping all year long to be able to buy enough supplies for 12 boxes, enough for a boy and girl in each age group, 2-4, 5-9 & 10-14. I wanted to pack more but the cost can add up quickly. I discovered through sites like For The Mommas that I could get good name brand hygiene items like toothpaste and toothbrushes for free or very cheap., school supplies inexpensively in the summer, toys sales like hotwheels in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and shop end of season clearance racks to find clothes, flip flops or hats. In 2011 my two oldest sons wanted to have a shoebox packing party for their birthday and with the help of their friends they were able to pack 52 boxes. We had to stop when we ran out of shoeboxes. By shopping all year long I am able to get supplies to pack more boxes or donate to the packing parties at our Church. Some of the things we include are a notebook, pencils, pencil sharpeners, crayons, soap, washcloth, toothpaste & toothbrush, balls, stuffed animals, small cars, jump ropes, markers, colored pencils, erasers, puzzles, marbles & hard candy. My boxes are packed and waiting for Collection Week, Nov. 18-25 and it is time to start shopping for next year.
Tips for using your stockpile:
1. Collect and gather freebies throughout the year. Don’t forget to check out back to school sales, end of season sales and more.
2. When packing your boxes, be sure to check expiration dates on your stockpile items.
3. Let your kids “shop” your stockpile for things to donate – it makes them feel involved.
4. Ask your couponing friends for items you don’t not have. Your friends/family might have or stockup on different things.
5. Be sure to check the guidelines of what you can and cannot send.
6. Check the Dollar Store for inexpensive toy items.
7. Write a personalized note or send a photo.
8. Don’t be afraid to include toiletry items, they are much needed.
9. Include 1-2 fun things – markers, coloring books, cars or stuffed animals are great.
10. Remember, one box can make a difference – if that is all you can do – that is AWESOME!
Do you have any tips for donating to Operation Christmas Child?