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Packing Three Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes for $29 from Dollar Tree

Someone recently expressed to my sister that they thought it'd take $25-$30 to pack an Operation Christmas Child shoebox, even if you just went to the dollar store.  I thought that sounded high, so I thought I'd figure it out.  If you read this blog you know I like to pack OCC boxes by shopping year round to be able to get higher quality items for even cheaper on sale/clearance plus craft some of the items.  Some people I know like to just take the box to say Wal-Mart, and keep buying things until it's full, and not worry about the cost.

But for those who don't have the time or finances for those options-I thought I'd share how with just going to Dollar Tree you can pack 3 OCC boxes for $29.  If you give $7 $9 to ship each that'd be $50 $56 total to impact 3 children's lives in a major

Black Friday CVS Shopping for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.

I ran into CVS a couple times this week to take advantage of their sales.  We were taking our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes Sunday afternoon, so I ran in Sunday after church to pick up the first half of the week's deals, to add the gum & toothpaste to this year's boxes as it wouldn't last long enough to go in next year's.  The Mentos and notebook are for next years boxes.  I used an $3 ECB I'd gotten for downloading the CVS app, and saved the ECBs I got back from the candy/gum for the second half of the week.  [UPDATE 2017:  no candy or toothpaste allowed.]

Note--the image for the first trip disappeared from the post.

I used those ECBs, to buy the items on the left.  The candy that is laying down won't be able to be sent next year, but I think there's one more box we're going to send to the processing center this year.  The candy that's standing up is "Sell by 8 2017", so I'm saving it along with the rest of the items for next year's boxes.  I took the ECBs from the items on the left & bought the toys on the right which were part of the Buy 1 Get 1 Free toy sale, so I ended up getting everything in both pictures for under $6!!  But....

...I paid that with a CVS gift card I won in a giveaway, so it was actually totally free!!  When I entered it, I decided if I won I'd use it toward shoeboxes.  Normally I use cards earned on Swagbucks to pay, but now I'm using the Swagbucks points toward other gift cards--like Ebay-for shoeboxes.  If you haven't started earning free gift cards from Swagbucks check it out.  It is free and easy and they offer dozens of different gift cards.  Many shoe box shoppers like to get the Amazon cards.

Have you all found any great additions to your Operation Christmas Child shoebox stockpile this week?

Giving fillers for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Donating filler to Operation Christmas Child shoebox processing center.As Operation Christmas Child shoebox collection week approaches if you're like me you may have some items left that you couldn't quite squeeze in the boxes...or you got more of a certain item than you ended up needing.  Did you know you can donate them?

Many crafters craft all year and donate hand made items to help fill the need.  And groups like the Pencil Granny and Friends on Facebook work on specific filler items to donate.

Anything that can go in an OCC shoebox can be donated.  Just put it in a box or bag and label it "fillers," find your local Drop-Off Location (you can find yours in thru that week as it gets close to national collection week, the rest of the year it isn't up because it can change year-to-year), and take it there.  They'll take them to the Processing Center, then if someone packs something in a box that needs taken out (items banned due to customs, being fragile, perishable, etc.) the volunteers will have something to replace it with.  Or if someone can't quite fill up their box, they'll have something extra to tuck in!  A great win-win!

You can also ship donations year round to Operation Christmas Child headquarters at 801 Bamboo Road, Boone, NC 28607.

You can see a few of the kinds of things we craft for fillers in this post:  Babies, Bears & Bags for Operation Christmas Child Filler Donation.

If you love to craft check out Five Ways to Donate Fillers to Operation Christmas Child.

Donate handcrafted items to Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing.

NOTE:  I live in the United States and this post was written based on that, but I'm guessing the same or similar is true for all sending countries.

Why We Pack Stuffed Animals in All Our Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Why we pack Stuffed Animals in all our Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

If you've read our posts of what we've put in our Operation Christmas Child boxes for a  Girl 2-4Boy 2-4Girl 10-14, & Boy 10-14 you may have noticed that every one of the boxes had a stuffed animal or stuffed doll in it.  We thought you might be interested to know why.

First, there's the fact that Samaritan's Purse suggests it-here in America it's one of the main ideas for the "Wow items" both for suggestions and to pack online.  As I

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