Monday, October 07, 2013

Packing A Shoe Box: More With Less

Operation Christmas Child is something we love to participate in as a family. Recently, my husband's co-worker gave him $20 and a shoe box to fill for a child. He wasn't sure how far the money would go, but my husband assured him I could do two boxes with the money and that we'd pay the shipping. Such confidence in my shopping skills! This inspired me to document the contents of a shoe box, along with sources and prices to give you an idea of just what can be done. This is a great project involve kids with, as they can make simple crafts or write a letter to the child. They learn about giving in the process!


The Goods! Here are the contents of one shoe box for a girl, aged 10-14 years old.


The Details:

Crayons: Walmart, $.25
Toothbrush: Walmart or Target travel section, $1
First Aid Kit: Walmart or Target travel section, $1
Notebook: Walmart, $.17
Frog Hopper: Walmart party favors, $.10
Glue Sticks: Walmart or Target, $.25 for 2
Rainbow Loom bracelets: kid-made, free
Cross Craft: kid-made, free
Painting: kid-made, free


Peppermint Candies: Walmart, $.50 (I usually get these at BJ's for cheaper)
Soap: Amazon.com, $.18
Washcloth: Walmart, $.22
Kleenex: Walmart or Target, $.50 for 2
Pencils: Walmart or Target, $.50
Chalk: Michaels, $.10
Hello Kitty Bag: Target Dollar Spot, $.30
Pink Shirt: Walmart, $.50
New Old Navy jeans: free at a yard sale (seriously...how awesome is that!)


You didn't believe I could fit it all in the box, did you?! I have skillz. Also hours of experience playing Tetris in the days of my youth. And the grand total: drumroll please....$5.57 if I did my math correctly! Add $7 for shipping and the total cost to send this box is $12.57. The only thing missing from this box is a pencil sharpener which I will add when I get them.

Now, on to the boy box. The 10-14 age group is the most under-represented, especially for boys. I try to pack a number of boxes for this age group each year.


The Goods!


The Details:

Peppermint Candies: Walmart, $.50 (I usually get these at BJ's for cheaper)
Soap: Amazon.com, $.18
Washcloth: Walmart, $.22
Kleenex: Walmart or Target, $.25 for 1
Pencils: Walmart or Target, $.50
Chalk: Michaels, $.10
Blanket: made from brand new fleece from thrift store, $.75
Toothbrush: Walmart or Target travel section, $1
First Aid Kit: Walmart or Target travel section, $1
Notebook: Walmart, $.17
Frog Hopper: Walmart party favors, $.10
Rainbow Loom bracelets: kid-made, free
Cross Craft: kid-made, free
Painting: kid-made, free


Check out these shorts! I paid $.50 for them, and they come with a belt too!


Toothbrush: Walmart or Target, $1.00
Crayons: Walmart or Target, $.25
Gluesticks: Walmart or Target, $.37
Shorts: Walmart, $.50
Shirt: Walmart, $.50

The total cost for this box is $7.39, and with shipping $14.39.

Other tips:

  • Add a letter! You might hear back from your child. (I have...twice!)
  • Buy in bulk and split the items up: for example, I got soap on Amazon in a 16 pack, and I ended up paying $.18 a bar. Way cheaper than the dollar store.
  • Let your friends and neighbors know what you are doing. They will bring you stuff. My neighbor brought me 80 (!!) brand new toothbrushes his sister was going to throw away. The same neighbor is also a travel agent and has given us lots of the free promotional stuff she gets like water bottles, key chains, and tote bags. 
  • Look at yard sales. This one is new for me, but I have found a lot of stuff this year at yard sales and thrift stores. Keep in mind items must be new. I have found Happy Meal toys, stuffed animals, games, and much more this year, still with tags and for dirt cheap! There is also a thrift store in Trenton that sells new with tags beanie babies in bags of 4 for $2. Can't beat that!
  • Stick with a normal sized shoe box. I know, I know! It is hard to fit everything in, and in the past I have always thought bigger shoeboxes were better. However, now that I've worked at the collection center at church I have changed my ways. The shoe boxes are packed into cartons, and each carton is supposed to have at least 17 shoe boxes in it. (I am 94% certain that is the magic number) It is really hard to fit that many in, and when you have a boot box it is impossible. The problem comes when the distribution points believe they have a certain number of boxes to offer, and sometimes come up short of what they anticipated. 

1 comment:

Terry and Linda said...

You always, always, always amaze me!!!

I am proud to call you friend.

Linda
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