Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My CVS Stockpile for Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Gifts ~ The Final Tally

Well, it is getting down to the wire on getting stuff for our Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts--the national collection week is 11/14 - 11/21.  We got all of our goodies out the other day and spread them over our dining room table.  I took all of the items Sarah & I have gotten at CVS (free or nearly free) and spread it on the kitchen table so I could take a picture to show you all what can be accumulated in a year at CVS that can be shared in stockings or shoe boxes at Christmas for needy children.

This year was not a good year for school supplies as past years have been. It was a good year for toothpaste and tootbrushes and clearance
flip flops and t-shirts.  We have plenty of candy and gum, but Sarah always likes to get some red and white hard Christmas candy of some sort to add to make it more festive.  We have done Operation Christmas Child shoe box gifts since the first year they started (about 17 years ago) and it has become a cheerished family tradition.  But we have also packed stockings for local children and for soldiers in Afghanistan.  Nursing home, adult day care, children's homes, children's hospitals and hospice residents are also ideas of people you can make care packages for anytime of the year from CVS deals.

Below is part of a post I wrote earlier that I thought would be good to share to introduce readers to the Operation Christmas Child project in case it is something your family may like to do.

Image Courtesy of OCC
I often mention where I donate many of the items I acquire from weekly CVS deals.  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, I believe, which is approximately 17 years.  Some years we do a few and some we do dozens.

Correspondence I received from one
of my shoe box girls in Latvia.
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.  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.

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.  Collection week this year is November 14 thru 21.  So I am cranking up my deal hunting to see how many I can fill this year.  This week I was able to get two tubes of toothpaste to add to my Operation Christmas stock pile.  I'll share each week what I get, and if Sarah has time I'll have her share hers.

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.  Jessica keeps us updated on all the hottest deals on items for shoe boxes year round from numerous stores.  You can also keep up with Clip With Purpose on Facebook or Operation Christmas Child on Facebook.

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

Where do you enjoy sharing your CVS merchandise?  Do you and your family have Christmas giving traditions?


Anonymous said...

Your pile is impressive!! :) I read about Operation Christmas Child through your blog and think it's a wonderful idea. I got started a little late this year so I probably won't have much to put together a box for this Christmas. I think I will aim to do a few next year, with age group/gender in mind. Thanks for sharing!

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Great, Anon. I am excited to start again after the collection week and see how much I can get next year. I am going to watch clearance toys more and try to use extra extra bucks on some. There is one month left before the cut off date this year, but that isn't long to get enough for this year probably. Enjoy! Oh, and 10 - 14 year olds are those they have the least shoe boxes for, especially boys.

kristine said...

My family has participated with Operation Christmas Child for years. And this year I got a great idea from another site. She saves all of the toys from the happy meals and other kids meals and donates them in her shoe boxes. I thought that was such a good idea I had to share. I have 3 kids and they play with those toys for less than an hour before they lose interest and wind up in the trash. I will definitely be saving the rest for my shoe boxes.

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Kristine, thanks for sharing that great idea! They are the perfect size for the shoe boxes, too.

Melissa said...

Cheryl this post is beautiful and you have definitely inspired me to start doing this. Does anyone know of a similar program in Virginia? It seems the Operation Christmas Child is only in a few areas.

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Melissa, OCC collects nationwide. Go to the site--link is in the post beside the image of Crest--and type in your zip and it will tell you where you can take your boxes.

It has been so much fun and so rewarding.

Dee B. said...

We packed a shoe boxe through my child's school last year, but did not get the magnitude of this venture until reading your blog and Clip with Purpose. Our family will put together 2 for the school and drop off 2 more at a local church. We intend to make this a tradition.

Thanks for the information and guidance.

Cheryl @ Simply Shoeboxes said...

Dee, it is a fun tradition--and so rewarding. We got to volunteer a couple of years at one of the packing centers--they are amazing. It takes thousands of volunteers each year to pull this off. so glad to have helped you understand the program more in depth.