November 14, 2010

A Thrifty Way to Stuff Shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child

For the past 13 years, I have stuffed shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse.   How many shoeboxes we fill depends upon our budget and how many bargains I find during the year.  One year I put together 11 shoeboxes and this year I only did three. 

I do want you to know that you can fill a shoebox for very little money.  It just takes some creative thinking and shopping throughout the year.  Each year I take advantage of after season sales, back-to-school sales, CVS free items (from coupons and extra care bucks) and clearanced items.  I keep a tote in my garage with the items I collect and then in November I use these items to stuff shoeboxes.

Tonight we put together our shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Here is a list of the things that were in one of the boxes and the cost involved.

  • composition notebook  – $.10 back-to-school sale
  • doodle pad – $.50 clearance
  • pencil pouch – $.25 September school clearance
  • pencils – $.10
  • mechanical pencils $.10
  • toothbrush – free
  • toothpaste – free
  • Don’t Break the Ice travel game – $.30 after Christmas clearance last year
  • Polly Pocket car with doll – free with coupon
  • gloves – $.25 after winter clearance
  • soap – $.25
  • socks – $.25 clearance
  • teddy bear – $.25 yard sale (new, still in plastic)
  • Crayola crayons – $.25 back-to-school clearance
  • tote bag –  $1.00, Target 90% off clearance
  • pencil sharpener – $.25
  • small toys – free
  • washcloth $.25 (from a multi-pack on clearance)
  • candy – free (We had a bunch of candy from a church fall festival two weeks ago.)
  • chapstick – $.10 (clearanced multi-pack)

As you can see, we were able to fill a shoebox with nice gifts for less than $5.  This shoebox may be the first gift this child has ever received.  Sarah Pinnix from has posted an informative video explaining more about OCC

My kids were so proud of the shoeboxes.  Filling these shoeboxes provides an opportunity to teach children to be thankful for what they have, to tell them about others that are less fortunate, and to pray for others.  It’s a hands-on lesson in compassion for others.

National Collection week is November 15-22.  Check out the OCC website to download shoebox labels, find out acceptable items for the shoeboxes, local drop off locations, or to donate online.  Samaritan’s Purse is a reputable non-profit organization that also provides emergency relief.


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