Saturday, March 26, 2011

CVS Shopping for Donations ~ Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Fillers

Image Courtesy of OCC
I often mention where I donate many of the items I acquire from weekly CVS deals--including local food pantries, homeless shelters, children's homes, and more.  One of my favorite donation destinations for my CVS shopping is Operation Christmas Child which collects shoe boxes for children in crisis around the world--from America to Zimbabwe.

Because I know we will be filling shoe boxes each November I specifically acquire and store items that would be appropriate for a child and fit in the shoe box (personal hygiene, school supplies, toys).  We have done this for as long as Samaritan's Purse (an international Christian relief agency) has been doing it, beginning in 1993.  Some years we do a few and some we do dozens.

We have enjoyed the opportunity to volunteer in the processing center at their headquarters in Boone, NC as a family and have also enjoyed corresponding with some of the children who have received our shoe boxes.  We always include our address in case the child has the ability to write to us.  One year two sisters in a hospital received the two boxes my daughters sent.  They were able to correspond for a few years after receiving the letter thanking them for the shoe boxes.  In the past couple of years we have included our email address and have received emails from grateful parents.  It is so nice when we receive a letter and a photo from the child receiving the box.  It is a small percentage of the number we have sent, but has been such a special treat when we have.

CVS deals alone filled this Shoe Box a few years ago.
[Note:  as of 2017 candy and toothpaste is no longer allowed to be sent from the USA.]

If you have any interest in starting a tradition with your children or grandchildren (or by yourself) of giving to a child in crisis at Christmas this is a great program with which to do it.  It is simple and can be very personal by including a letter and a picture.  Often in the videos of the children receiving the boxes it is the photograph that they are most thrilled with.  I remember seeing a little Spanish speaking fellow waving the photo shouting "amigos, amigos."

They have collection centers throughout the US or the box can be shipped directly to their Boone address.  You can learn how to pack a shoe box and find a collection center near you by visiting the website (these are updated in October).  Collection week is always the week before Thanksgiving.

If you would like to find great ideas for filling a shoe box or other deals from other stores that would be great for filling a shoe box check out Clip With Purpose.  Mary keeps us updated on all the hottest deals on items for shoe boxes year round from numerous stores.  Another fantastic resource is Shoebox Shoppers on Facebook.  Stefanie shares sales and tips everyday.  You can also keep up with Clip With Purpose on Facebook or Operation Christmas Child on Facebook.

I have also since started my own blog, Simply Shoe Boxes.  I share my personal journey of packing shoe boxes for kids in need.  I'd love to have you stop by and check out Simply Shoe Boxes (and if you leave a comment I'll know you were there).  You can also follow Simply Shoe Boxes on Facebook or sign up for emails.

Images courtesy of Operation Christmas Child, Samaritan's Purse.


Anonymous said...

What a fantastic idea! Thank you so much for bringing this organization to my attention. I love that couponing saves me money but I would love to participate in this too. We take so much for granted (at least I do) and I think it would be great to share items I may not necessarily need with a child who will appreciate it. Thanks so much Cheryl!! :)

Kathy Schriefer said...

Thank you so much for this post. As a year-round volunteer I know how blessed these children are when they receive these simple gift-filled shoeboxes. They truly treasure these items. Your blog and facebook posts have helped me to save money to buy more items for shoeboxes, too. Thanks for all you are doing! I also write a blog about my adventures in collecting items for a large community-wide packing party (last year we packed 12,670) and you can stop and visit at

Anonymous said...

Love Operation Christmas Child. My goal this year was 10 shoeboxes but thanks to the great deals I'm getting I'm pretty sure I will surpass that considerably! I love clip with a purpose website too. Is there somewhere that lists suggestions for the older boys & girls? I always have a little trouble figuring out what to buy for them. thanks!!

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Glad to share it, Anon. So glad you found it helpful--we have so much fun with it each year.

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Kathy, thanks for the link to your blog, I enjoyed spending a while there reading of your work and experiences.

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Anon, I saw a list in a comment recently at Clip With Purpose. Also a few started at OCC Facebook Discussion but not a large one. I am actually trying to find one myself so if I do I will come back and add a link. I may ask Jessica if she would give us one or ask her readers.

MyMommyBlog said...

I found this blog about 5 minutes ago, and I am already so in love with it because the first post I read talked about you picking up items for your OCC boxes! I have been putting together boxes since I was in elementary school, in high school I volunteered time in one of the sorting and distributing centers (in Orange County, CA). My husband and I do Operation Christmas child boxes with our three kids and our church every year. My sister and I have been couponing with our OCC boxes in mind, and have been stocking up on free/ cheap toothbrushes, full toothpastes, and school supplies :)

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

How fun, My Mommy Blog! We have done it since year one, I think, and haven't missed a year--so many fun memories of it all. We volunteered in Boone twice. Are you familiar with Clip With Purpose? All the deals for OCC boxes along with inspiration and crafts and fun filling the boxes. Glad you found Simply CVS.