Thursday, August 4, 2011

Operation Christmas Child-Gearing Up

Last year my mom and I worked that the west coast processing center for Operation Christmas Child.  We learned a lot about what to pack in the boxes and have been trying to buy things on clearance that would be a good fit for the boxes.  JC Penney usually has some great deals on off season clothing, so when I'm there to buy anything else, I check the kids' clothing clearance racks.  I have 5 empty shoe boxes to fill, not sure how many my mom has set aside.

We met at an outlet mall last month and I completely forgot about buying clearance items.  I saw T-shirts for $2 each, but didn't buy any because no one in my family needed them.  Oops, there I go just thinking about "me" again.

As long as we're talking about me, I love office supplies, and you know what that means this time of year, right?  Tremendous savings on back to school supplies.  Since we homeschool, and don't really go through very many items, it feels as though I don't get to participate in these great sales events, until I remember that school supplies are great things for OCC boxes!  Woo-hoo, now I get to indulge my shopping desire AND think of someone else!

I think I've gone a little overboard though.  I emptied all the bags into a large box tonight and here's what I have:
  • 5 boxes of colored pencils
  • 6 boxes of markers
  • 7 boxes of crayons
  • 16 glue sticks
  • 4 mini staplers
  • 3, 10 count packages of pens
  • 2, 8 count packages of fun pens
  • 4 packages of regular pencils
  • 10 pencil sharpeners
  • 8 file folders with pockets
  • 6 spiral notebooks
  • 4 composition books
  • 9 packages of filler paper
  • 4 bottles of glue
The liquid glue can't be sent, and the spiral notebooks may not fit, but there are local collections of these items for kids here who can't afford these things.  I was going to buy a couple of backpacks for the local kids also, as OfficeMax usually has a time when they'll give 100% back in MaxPerks rewards, but I missed that deal.

I wonder if things like bar soap are on sale this time of year too?  I bought an 18 count package of wash cloths, and it'd be nice to wrap each one around a bar of soap.  I'm going to ask my dentist how many tooth brushes and dental floss samples his office is willing to donate. 

One weekend, my parents will come visit and we'll make yarn dolls to go in the boxes too.  I have some camo yarn so that we can make "boy" dolls too.  Last Christmas we made some as gifts for cousins and my son showed me a way to attach a button to one hand for a shield and a toothpick in the other for a sword, but we can't send military/fighting type toys.

At the homeschool conference last weekend I picked up a few small items for the boxes-a few pens, a pin, a book.  Oh, I should get some inexpensive coloring books to go with those crayons, markers and colored pencils!  Oh yeah, I got a couple of packages of stickers too.

One of our homeschool projects will be to write letters to the children that will get the boxes.  It nearly brought tears to my eyes last year to see the handwritten letters and pictures done by children for children.  Do they know the impact they are having?

I was hoping to find the story of the girl who lived in Russia that didn't want to go to school that day because her shoes were falling apart.  Her mother made her go, and she made plans to run away after school.  Guess what happened?  That day at school, Samaritan's Purse was there giving out boxes to the kids.  Guess what was in her box?  Yep, shoes.  Her size.  Think she ran away?  Nope, she ran right into God's arms, because He used a family to send this girl exactly what she needed at the moment she needed it most.  He's like that, you know.