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Beginning with Stuffies, Babies & Shoeboxes ~ Cheryl's 2018 OCC Shoebox Packing Report for October

I have finished packing my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for the 2017 packing season except for needing sew some skirts to include.  So I am beginning to move on to 2018 shoeboxes.

One of my shoeboxes for 2017.

I am trying something a little different for my Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing this year and will share a report of my progress with you each month.  I am in charge of our family's 2 to 4 year old girl shoeboxes and I hope to work on

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox for 2-4 Year Old Boy - 2017

2-4 boy Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

I love looking at boxes others pack, so here's an Operation Christmas Child shoebox my aunt packed at our family packing party this year for a 2-4 year old boy, hope it

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 10/28/2017

We've pretty much finished packing for the year, but are getting a start on supplies for next year's shoebox packing.

I stopped at a store to pick up a few of these nice sturdy Frisbees!  Funny story...the store didn't have power, but the owner said I could come in and she'd give me a flashlight if I had cash and knew what I wanted.  Well, I did on both counts, so in a went, and got the Frisbees! 

We got a $5 off $15 coupon in the email for Big Lots.  My sister and I walked around looking at different things, finally wandered over to hygiene items and saw these tweezers, 2 for $1!  It'd been on my heart to add to the older kids' boxes for splinters, etc.  So, I got all they had plus a couple manicure sets to get up to $15.  I'll probably split up the manicure sets between a couple boxes.

Finally, we got this GREAT donation of stuffed animals!   We needed some more for the packing party with the kids at church, and this filled that need!  Such a blessing! 

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $16.44 

Spent from gift cards earned or won online: $0

Quick Crafting for Upcoming Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing Party

Proudly placing her finished shoebox on the stack (from a past packing party we hosted).

Our family planned to spend the afternoon trying to finalize the organization of the kids Operation Christmas Child packing party Sarah is hosting.  We had dresses to roll and tie up with yarn so they didn't take up much room, hygiene kits to make (Sarah shared on YouTube how we made them), bag up small toys, and more.  When Sarah did the final tally of the stock we were short over thirty stuffed animals,

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox for 2-4 Year Old Girl - 2017

Here is one of the boxes my mom packed this year for a 2-4 girl through Operation Christmas Child.  
Operation Christmas Child shoebox for 2 to 4 year old girl

If you'd like ideas for other ages be sure to check out my posts on OCC shoeboxes from this year for: Boy 2-4 , Girl 5-9, Boy 5-9, Girl 10-14, & Boy 10-14 (will be updated with links as I post those boxes, until I do, here's a link to all the shoebox examples posts). 

NOTE: Different countries have different restrictions on what can be packed in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox due to customs-no candy or toothpaste in the USA going forward.  Be sure to check the guidelines from your national organization before packing!

What went into the OCC shoebox gift (Items with ** are on the list of "Wow" items):

How I Fund My Crafting Habit for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

By crafting many of the items I include in my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, the cost per box is greatly reduced.  Especially since I have a lot of fabric and yarn that I've inherited.  But I still need to buy trims and thread and other supplies.  And I don't know about you, but I struggle every time I spend money -- Is this really necessary?  Can I get by without it?  Isn't a plain dress without decorations at the hemline just as good?  Most often the answer is I could make do, but it will be

OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturday ~ 10/21/2017

Managed to hit some of the Dollar General 90% off deals!

I got some stuffed animals for 60 cents at Bargain Hunt.

Some more stuffed animals, plus a stuffed animal pencil case.

I picked up  couple last minute things I needed-really excited about the Engineer Train Cap as I have a train themed box packed, now I can tuck it in!  And the little wooden "doll house" has a handle...hoping in the next year to find dolls to fit in it.

My dad took me to run out for a few last minute things I needed for the church kid's packing party and found a couple other fun things!

heard that my great aunt was in charge of getting school supplies for the shoebox being packed by her table at Bible Study, so I sewed up a quick reversible pencil cases her to include, and mailed it off.

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $42.22

Spent from gift cards earned or won online: $0

Territory and State Themed Shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child

There was a challenge on Shoebox Shoppers page on Facebook to pack "10 for Texas" Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.  In addition to donating to relief organizations, it gave us something personal to do to help those packers affected Hurricane Harvey-some had their boxes or packing supplies destroyed-to pack boxes in their place (they won't get these boxes, Samaritan's Purse is helping there in other ways).  Then came Irma, and packers in Florida were affected, and while I haven't heard first hand, I'm sure Puerto Rico won't be able to pack many, if any, boxes this year.  So, I decided it would make it a more personal way of supporting those in those states and territory if I packed one box themed around that location.  I posted on my Simply Shoeboxes Facebook page for ideas.  I was able to find almost enough in our stash to pack the themes, my mom and sister sewed a couple things and I bought one or two things, but on the whole, it was just carefully selecting from the supplies we had on hand.  Then came the California wildfires and accounts of packers forced from their homes and churches with shoeboxes in them threatened with flames...so I packed one for them, too!  Unfortunately, we'd already packed a lot of our boxes by then, so had less to pick from, but I think it turned out good, too!

When I do a theme box, what that means, while I stick to my normal list of things to include, I try to find versions of those items that fit the theme.  I may add an extra unique item or two, but on the whole it's the same list, just different types.  My basic list for those interested is:

October Item of the Month for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes ~ Personal communication

Samaritan's Purse has suggested items of the month for packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, and for October that is personal communication.  This can be various things, a long handwritten letter, a signed Christmas card, a printed letter, a photo, etc.  Or some combination of those things.  Personally this year I think I'm going to include a typed letter and photo, and sign a card, maybe with a short note related to what is in that specific box.  Like "I hope you like butterflies, I packed this box with lots because my Aunt C likes them", etc.

I've heard that often one of the first thing a child looks for is to see who the box is from.  Some of these children may live in orphanages, and while some orphanages are great, not all are, or there may just be too many kids!  You may be the only person who has done something personal to make that child feel special!  I want them to have a face and a name to feel loved!

A simple start would be to just include the photo Christmas Card you're sending to friends & family, but a letter is great, too!  If you'd like some ideas of how to get started/what to write, check out my post: Tips on Writing a Letter to Include in Your Operation Christmas Child Shoebox.  If you're packing with your kids, Samaritan's Purse, offers this Coloring Page/Letter combo that they might enjoy doing!  There is also a chance you may hear back if you include your contact info, I've heard back via post and email, others have been contacted via Facebook.  Sometimes they know someone through school, church, or their parents work with internet access and can contact you, which is cheaper for them then international mail.  My understanding is some sending countries discourage sending postal addresses for security reasons, but here in the USA we can do so.  Now for some inspiration to get working on those notes!

Photos Courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse.

Discounted Craft Supplies from The Fabric & Yarn Lady ~ Great Source for Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Crafting

Chelle, from Chelle's Caybees, donates hundreds of crocheted items each year to our Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing stockpile.  She is currently helping her friend sell off the stock from her closed discount craft store.  They are listing it on Etsy at The Fabric & Yarn Lady.

Bulk ribbon I purchased from The Fabric & Yarn Lady.  
This is grosgrain ribbon she sold by the yard in the store.  I use it on my dresses and skirts mostly.  I'll never find this price again so I've stocked up for the next few years.

They offer mostly bulk lots of discounted crafting supplies.  New listings are added almost daily and will continue for the next couple of months.  If you love to craft for your OCC shoeboxes as much as I do you may find some deals on craft supplies

Packing Weeks OCC Shoebox Stockpile Saturdays ~ 10/14/2017

This will actually be two week's worth of stockpiling, I was too busy packing to post-yay for packing shoeboxes!! 😊

First we stopped by a thrift store, and found a lot of stuffed animals, many new with tags, the rest like-new! 

These look like they will work for the kid's packing party!

These may be a bit big for the kids packing party, have to test them in our test/sample boxes...but they'll be used somehow.

These are some that might be too big for the kid's packing party, and a lot are Pooh themed which my Mom likes to do for her boxes!

These are some we needed for themes, (plus the black lamb was just TOO cute!).  I had a panda box half made, and no stuffed animal...then I found this one!

I forgot I'd requested this free sample, it came just in time for packing day and I was doing a butterfly themed 10-14 girl box!

Got some school supplies at CVS clearance, some 75% off, some 90% off, plus nail clippers free after a coupon.  I like getting "fancy" notebooks for my boxes...almost like a "wow" item in itself. 

I also ran by Dollar Tree to some lead for the mechanical pencils...hard to find 0.7 lead.

Stopped by  Dollar Generals for summer clearance.

Picked up some stickers for my dinosaur  themed box, some more leads, and a couple puzzles for 2-4 boxes.

Some more random fun stuff plus theme.

Some donated lace-for adding to sewing kits and my sister likes to put it in boxes because she's read a lot about hair styles in different cultures and she says a lot use things like that to braid in or tie up.

While some of us packed, others of us sewed tote bags and pencil cases...don't have photos of all of them here, some were packed as soon as sewn!

We also got our order of combs from MD Supplies and Services.   So that'll help us finish up the boxes!

Spent from shoebox packing budget: $106.21

Spent from gift cards earned or won online: $0 

Eight Resources for Craft Patterns & Inspiration for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

Crafting for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes is a rewarding endeavor.  We can enjoy our hobbies of knitting, crocheting, sewing and more while helping kids around the world.  And if we craft more than we can possibly pack in individual shoeboxes we can donate them as fillers to OCC directly.  If you are like me, you

Fixing Fillers for Operation Christmas Child Processing Center from Donations

Along with packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child each year, we like to send fillers for the OCC processing center to add to boxes that need something extra.  This year one of the items we are sending are tiny stuffies wrapped in crocheted loveys.  They were all donated to us to use in our boxes, the kids packing party at church or to send as fillers.  By wrapping the small animals in a crocheted lovey it turns an ordinary item into a WOW item.

Crocheted loveys and little animals for Operation Christmas Child shoebox filler donations.
I love the uniqueness of each lovey--just like the children who will receive them.

Suzanne, from Sew Delightful, sends us many donations each year.  Some of the items are pillowcase dresses, handmade jewelry, small toys and tiny stuffed

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