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Stockpiling to Give: Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child


Christmas is ___ days away! (I left the number blank to keep you from stressing over the amount of time you do NOT have left.) I get to thinking each year: Do my kids really need anymore junk? Stuffed animals, Polly Pockets, Transformers and the like already fill our toy bins and drawers. And we couponers are so good, we can afford to get them even more! Certainly it is fun on Christmas morning to watch them squeal with delight as they vigorously open the bags and boxes.  But after a few days it all goes to the toy bin, never to be played with again.

Our family started a tradition several years ago of making shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse: Operation Christmas Child, a charity that delivers shoeboxes filled with toys and candy to needy children around the world.  Since our first contribution, those 2 shoeboxes have turned into several!

This is where couponing comes in. I have a giant extra dresser in my closet I use all year long to throw my coupon treasures in. You probably have a stockpile like this somewhere too:

  • Gum (all those FREE packs!)
  • Socks
  • Bar soap
  • School supplies you got nearly free at all the office stores.
  • End of the year summer stuff like sunglasses, visors and 10 cent flip-flops from the 90% off rack at CVS.
  • July 4th Clearance shirts at Target for $1.00 (kids around the world LOVE American stuff).
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste (of course!)

My shoebox stockpile builds and grows with every happy meal toy and every Halloween candy overload. Anything that won’t melt goes in the drawer after Halloween in preparation for shoe box building.

Collection week is coming up November 14-21st. Here is what you do:

USE AN EMPTY SHOE BOX. (standard size) or a small plastic container. You can wrap the box, but it isn’t required.  If you do, make sure to wrap the lid separately.

CHOOSE AGE & GENDER.  Determine whether your gift will be for a boy or a girl. Then choose an age category: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14.

FILL WITH GIFTS. Fill the box with a variety of gifts that will bring delight to a child.

INCLUDE YOUR DONATION. Please donate at least $7 for each shoebox you prepare. This helps cover shipping costs and other related project costs. You can give online by using the “Follow Your Box Donation” option, or you can write a check to Samaritan’s Purse (note “OCC” on memo line) and place it in an envelope on top of the gift items inside your box. If you or your family are preparing more than one shoe box, please make one combined donation.

DROP OFF. Place a rubber band around each closed shoe box and drop off at the Collection Center nearest you during collection week, November 14-21. To find a location visit the website and enter your zip code.

Our family chose the “Follow Your Box Donation” option for the first time last year.  We were thrilled to learn that our boxes went to Uganda! I knew all that clearance summer stuff and banana boat lip balm would be put to good use! Don’t wait.  Head to your stockpile, grab an old shoebox, and get packing!

This has been a guest post by Buffy from Winnabow, NC
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!

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47 thoughts on “Stockpiling to Give: Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child”

  1. Amy Froyd says:

    Thank you so much for posting this!! Samaritan’s Purse is a wonderful organization and Operation Christmas Child is just one of their amazing ministries. What a wonderful way for KCLs to give back!!! My family and I did 4 boxes last Christmas and will be doing more this year!!

  2. This is a terrific idea and there is a drop off location right by us! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I can not wait to put this together… I am going to use this as an opportunity for my 14 yr. old daughter to come out of her friends, friends, friends, make-up, you-tubing, cell phone, Ipod, door slamming, pouty, the world revolves around me and if you don’t like it I will roll my eyes at you realm !! She really is a good girl, just needs a wake up call! Thank you KCL !!

  4. Victoria says:

    Does any one know if second hand toys are excepted? My kids are always getting bored with the things they got for last Christmass and I would love to find a way to “recycle” them insted of throwing out these practicly new things! I have tryed having a tag-sale(with the proceedes going to charity) but I now live in an area that is not very well traveled so the last two years have be a flop! And My mother alway told me as I was growing up ” a gift from the heart is better then any gift from the store”

  5. April McHugh says:

    My family loves OCC! We have done this for several years. We are going to do two boxes this year-one for each of our children to gie (even though our youngest is only 5 months old). A lady from our church went to deliver boxes in Africa a few years ago and she suggested giving underwear, colored pencils instead of crayons (the boxes are shipped on boats and get delivered during the next year-not just at Christmas time and the crayons melt), shirts, socks, etc. Everything has to be new. I love giving every year. I just learned last year that the $7 donation is tax deductible but I’d do this even if it wasn’t. Our box went to the Phillpines last year. We always include a photo of our family and a letter with a SASE but never have had any kids write back. But this is an awesome way to bless other kids while teaching ours about giving to others.

  6. Ashley Moore says:

    I LOVE this idea! I typically make several boxes each year, too. Last year, though, I had lost my job and couldn’t afford to do it. This year, though, I have more than enough to share with others, thanks to couponing! Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  7. Anonymous says:

    this is a great idea! i will definitely be donating items to this cause!
    does anyone know if they accept handmade items as well? i make small baby blankets, stuffed animals, hair clips and scarves. i would love to make items to include in these boxes as well as store bought items :)

  8. Kati Johnson says:

    I have made boxes for the past 2 years and will make some this year. My sister even had one of the little girls that she made a box for write to her.

  9. melissa says:

    our church does this every year even if every family gives just one shoe box that’s gotta be atleast a couple of hundred so good job krazy coupon lady I would have never thought about sending those items.:)

  10. Thank you for posting this and sharing it. I am thrilled to have someone to buy christmas things for.

  11. I am SO glad that you are doing this and sharing this with everyone that visits your website! I have collected about 41 toothbrushes plus many other toiletries, toys, gum, etc… for this very purpose! I made a purchase for Christmas Child this past weekend. I bought 1500 beanie babies for $100 to bring to the processing center in Minneapolis, MN to fill up any boxes that are a bit empty.

  12. Tannia says:

    This is such a wonderful way to teach my kids about giving. It’s a wonderful idea to pass along. Thank you for sharing!

  13. I can’t wait to do the shoebox project! Woot! :)

  14. Katie Roosma says:

    I love that you posted this! I have been doing shoeboxes for years now and I absolutely love it! In August I go buy tons of school supplies when they on sale for super low prices, I also add toiletries, and fun little toys. Now that I am a semi-krazy couponer I have been able to score tons of great items to add to my shoeboxes this year. I have also been loving stocking up on supplies for the angel tree at my church at Christmas time; (just another idea of somewhere to give) :)

  15. Our church is doing this and boy have I loaded them up with stuff :) Love being able to donate so much to the people in need.

  16. Jamie Rufo says:

    What a great program! I think this is going to be one of our new Christmas traditions – I have 2 1/2 year old twins who really need to learn the importance of sharing!!

  17. I just found out that my church is doing that this year. So excited to put all my extra to good use for someone else. Now I know what I can stock up for next year.

  18. Cindy says:

    Thanks for this! I’ve been using KCL tips to stockpile for my boxes for several months. Packing these boxes is such a rewarding way to give.

  19. My husband and I are doing 7 boxes this year for the first time! I did these way back in Girl Scouts and I loved it! I was talking to my grandmother-in-law about it and found out she does boxes too — you know why? Because she received one when she was a little girl in Ukraine. Her favorite gift in her box was … an eraser. And the Bible that came with it. Those are the gifts she remembers. How special is that?!

  20. Anonymous says:

    This is wonderful i’m going to have my girlscout troop start a new tradition with this. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for the great idea! I have never heard of this and was thinking I’ll make a couple with my kids, but now I’m going to have my son’s cub scout den do it! It will be great to be able to track the boxes with the boys. I can’t wait!

  21. My friends actually work for Samaritan’s Purse in Kenya and they daughter got to tell our church kids’ group all about the kids opening their gift boxes. She emphasized how excited they are to get ANYTHING–some have never had their own toothbrush before. I keep a box where I stash stuff all year long, then around the first of November my older daughter and I go through it and see what we still need. We head to the dollar store and have a blast buying stuff, thinking about how excited a kid will be to get a washcloth, hair bows, or just about anything! If you pray, don’t forget to pray for the kids who will receive the boxes!

  22. yuki tacy says:

    we have done this before and we had fun doing it !!! when we did this for the first time we just used the box they provided(the one in the picture) but i was told later that plastic shoe case with the lid is really appreciated,too that kids can use it as a school supply storage and so i think im going to use the plastic case this year!

  23. Anonymous says:

    This is, to me, the most helpful post you’ve ever made. Thank you.

  24. Kacey Betau says:

    We have also done this for years. It is actually my 12 year old daughters favorite “tradition” in our house. You wouldn’t believe what she can pack into one of these things. Just a couple of tips for those that haven’t done these before. Instead of a cardboard shoe box buy an inexpensive plastic storage shoe box. Kids use it for many things including carrying food and water. Also remember that sometimes if you take things out of the package (not food of course) you can fit much more in the box. Do they need anything to go with it? If you give pencils make sure there is a sharpener, if you give a toothbrush don’t forget the paste, and so on. Stay away from things that need batteries. Yes you can always send extras but eventualy they will run out. And very important do not send anything that suggests violance or war. Even a simple toy solder (like from Toy Story) is a no, no. Using your stockpile is great but remember these are kids. A great place for toys is the dollar store. Many toys our kids wouldn’t look twice at are the greatest thing to these kids. Slinkies, jacks, coloring books, etc. Last but not least let your kids get envolved. Not only are you doing something great for a child halfway around the world but also for your own kids when you make this a learning experince for them. I talk to my kids every year about where the boxes are going (which by the way you can track them to what country your box goes to), what these kids lives are like and why we can’t send things like a disposable camera. Sorry this is such a long post but as you can tell it is something I feel very strongly about. :)

  25. Brynn Vitrano says:

    Are there any organizations that stay local or at least within the US? I would love to help out those that need it at home as well!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes–check to see if your county has a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) organization. CASAs are volunteers who represent kids in court when they have been removed from their homes by DCS or if they have gotten in trouble. Most of the ones my husband and I have represented are from homes where the mom is a drug abuser and the dad is usually not present. Many of them are in foster care or detention homes and need to know they are not forgotten and somebody is speaking out on their behalf even if the probation dept or DCS is not in it to help them. They need new clothes and supplies because they frequently have nothing when they are removed.

  26. LOVE DOING THIS!! I’ve been collecting stuff all year in a bin. All I have to do is pack the boxes in November!

  27. Anonymous says:

    my best friend’s mom makes $78 an hour on the computer. She has been out of job for 9 months but last month her check was $7587 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read about it here HardRich.com

  28. I LOVE THIS! Thanks for sharing…I’m going to start going through my stuff. :)

  29. Melanie says:

    I’m so glad to see you post this wonderful charity idea here. My family has been doing the boxes for over nine years. Ever since the idea came up in a MOPS meeting.

  30. The company I work for does this every year. This year since I started couponing, I have many items to add to the boxes and we will be doing about 50 more boxes than we did last year. I am so excited. This is an amazing opportunity to give back and use all those trial size items that were free!

  31. Anonymous says:

    I love OCC!! I make these boxes every year with my kids, I have been doing them since jr high. Beautiful way to give

  32. We do this every year through our church, but I have to say that I never thought about putting all of those McDonald’s toys in there. I know where they are going from now on! I did however think of all the school stuff I got for next to nothing that I will be adding in this year.

  33. Hannah says:

    I love this! I have been doing this for years! it so amazing to give! <3

  34. Anonymous says:

    I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet some of the children who receive these packages. To these kids receiving something as small as an eraser or a number 2 pencil that they can call there own makes them increadibly happy. so receiving a whole box of goodies must bring them so much joy. So all of you ladies who do this are amazing.

  35. Dave Zill says:

    We donate a lot of our stockpile stuff also, but you don’t have to look far away for a place to donate. Before sending everything overseas, check with your local churches, salvation army, women’s shelters, Ronald McDonald House and more. There are a ton of needy people right in our own backyard.

    • silly gal says:

      I am just getting ready to make my first shelter donation to a local women’s shelter. I understand this would count as a charitable donation. I am wondering what amount to claim on my taxes (California like the Krazy Coupon Ladies)…the price I paid or the full retail value of the items? Thanks!

  36. I just started my boxes this morning!! Samaritans Purse is a great organization.If you have a few minutes, you should check out their website. Fantastic things are done through Samaritans Purse! :)

  37. Anonymous says:

    I’m so happy that you put this post I didn’t realize these donations for children were available, I watched some of the videos on the samaritan website and i have to say that the look of appreciation and the excitement the children showed when they are opening the boxes brought a few tears to my eyes. I will definitely be participating in this project this year and I will also pass on the word to members of my family so that they too can take a part in this. thanks again :)

  38. I did just that! This year my sister and I did 6 boxes. One for each of our children. I used exactly what you used. I went into my stockpile and got out all kinds of bar soap, toothbrushes, little toys, school supplies. I felt so good knowing I could still do that many boxes for little or no money.

  39. Jessica says:

    I just began my stock pile about 4 months ago! And about that time is when our local church began reminding all of us to stock up on those items for the shoeboxes. Whenever I saw a great deal – I would email other ladies in the church to go out and get that same deal for the boxes! We will have about 150 boxes from a little church in the middle of West Texas and a lot from coupons and great deals! Thanks for posting this! This is a great way to give back!!!

  40. Anonymous says:

    I started doing these 2 years ago and I already have things stashed away for this years boxes!! Also around here when it gets closer to christmas the do an angel tree except instead of children it is for seniors. I did a couple of those last year and will be doing those again this year to. It feels so good to give back to others especially around the holiday! :)

  41. ARELY CAMPOS says:

    My daughters used to go to a private Christian School where they collect boxes. They’d set a goal of how many boxes they wanted to collect and the day of the rally the students will dress with typical costumes from around the world, collect the boxes and count them. It is very exciting for the kids. My daughters don’t attend this school anymore but I still