Sunday, November 16, 2014

Exciting: Shoebox Time Again

It's time to pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child! This year we packed a box for a boy and a girl, and I found Target to be very helpful.

Operation Christmas Child has two resources on their site for gift ideas, and I have pasted them below. I will also tell you what I found at Target. 

I find it strange that the Operation Christmas Child list never includes Playdoh. Any children I work with are wild about Playdoh--up to 12 years old sometimes. I bring our Playdoh each time I work at church, and the four year olds play with it the whole playtime. It's hard to drag them away!

I did not look at the Operation Christmas Child list this year before we went to the store, and I see that I didn't buy enough that was specifically for school. However, a lot of these children cannot afford the fees for the local schools, unless they are in some sort of child sponsorship program. Education is not free in the third world, and without the fees children can't attend. The fees include uniforms, books, and supplies. Compassion International is one organization that takes care of all these fees and more, through their child sponsorship program.

This is the first year I did not get a stuffed animal or small doll, and I do regret that. This year I also neglected to get a toothbrush and soap. My kids were sick this week and we waited too long to go to the store. Do your shopping early, by all means, so you have time to peruse all the departments. We had a deadline to work with as we do this for our AWANA program.

You can do this on your own and drop off your box at one of the designated drop off locations, or you can build a box online and choose the toys you want to go in your box. If you do it on your own and buy the usual items, it runs about $40 to $50 a box for a tween- or adult-sized shoebox (postage is paid by our AWANA program). If you build it online, it appears to be only $25, but perhaps there is a postage fee later, I am not sure.

Now on to what Target has right now in their dollar bins:

In the front of the store there are many $1.00 bins, but it is not all cheap stuff. I found the following things, useful for Operation Christmas Child, or blessing children in the hospital, or in shelters, perhaps?

1.  Wonderful, step-by-step learn-to-draw books, one each for farm animals, safari, sea life, and reptiles
2.  Blank sketch pads with princess covers, Sesame Street covers, Doc McStuffins covers
3. Learn-to-write pads with kindergarten lines
4. silly putty
5. marbles
6. Disney ankle socks
7. Kindergarten crayons
8. 24-piece puzzles in different themes (for 4-9-year-old category)
9. slinky
10. small fleece blankets for girls and boys (says for pets but they would fit baby to preschoolers)
11. Hello Kitty small spiral notebooks

Other things we got from the regular toy department are Playdoh and Hot Wheels car sets, with the purple cars going to the girls. We also always get smallish balls, and gummies for candy. I recommend the Twistable Crayola crayons because they will last the longest! The others will get broken and be a disappointment fast.

I get socks every year, but today as we drove home, I thought about all the third-world country children I've seen in flip flops, and I vowed to remember Operation Christmas Child in the summer when flip flops are in the stores. Perhaps they live in too hot a climate for socks? Perhaps they can't even afford sneakers? Next time I'll put in fewer socks, so I have room for a pair of flip flops.

The age categories are 2-4, 5-9, 10-14

Post Script: Oh, no! Is it too humid in the third world for Playdoh? Have I disappointed kids for four years with my Playdoh obsession...taking up room in these boxes?

From the Operation Christmas Child site:

Teddy bear, doll, soft toy, etc.

Exercise book, pencil case, pens, pencils, colouring pencils, sharpener, eraser, chalk, etc.

T-shirt, shorts, underwear, cap, beanie, sandals, thongs, etc.

Tennis ball, cars, skipping rope, marbles, musical instrument, yo-yo, slinky, finger puppets, wind up torch, etc. (No battery operated items)*

Soap and face washer, toothbrush, hairbrush, comb, hair-clips, scrunchies, etc.(No toothpaste)*

Carry bag, sunglasses, bangles, necklaces, craft kits, stickers, note or photo of yourself.

TOYS: Include items that children will immediately embrace such as dolls, toy cars, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries), etc.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES: pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, notebooks, paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.

NON-LIQUID HYGIENE ITEMS: toothbrushes, bar soap, combs, washcloths, etc.
ACCESSORIES: t-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries), etc.

A PERSONAL NOTE: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. If you include your name and address, the child may be able to write back.

DO NOT INCLUDE: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.

1 comment:

Jen said...

I love packing shoeboxes. Our church packs for OCC all year long. It is our big missions project. We love it. We find that if you hit the sales just right you can pack a box pretty inexpensively.

Have a great week.