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By shopping and crafting for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes year-round it is possible to pack more shoeboxes, pack more items per shoebox, and/or pack them for less money.  We share many posts in the year-round packing category.  Below are links to the various categories as well as links to many of the individual posts.  And at the bottom of this post we share organizational tips for shoebox stockpiles.

One example of a shoebox we packed for a 10 to 14 year old boy.

Our Year Round Shopping Trips & Stockpile Additions

Many Saturdays Sarah shares what she has added to our shoebox stockpile from purchases or donations here: Shoebox Stockpile Saturday.

An example of CVS clearance shopping.

We often find information about deals we take advantage of on the following Facebook pages:
We also share some deals on our Simply Shoeboxes Facebook page, and check out our Walmart Clearance Deals post-updated regularly with the latest finds/deals complete with Brickseek links!

Example of Shoeboxes Packed from Year Round Shopping

This is just one example of inexpensive shoeboxes we have packed.  This is how we were able to pack three shoeboxes worth over $100 for under $7.  Click the image to see the details (note this was in 2016, when candy was still allowed from the USA).

Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Item of the Month
OCC has divided packing into months.  Below is a list of the monthly items they suggest--many are listed in months when sales occur.  Those with links are to posts we have shared with ideas & tips and recipient stories.

    January --  Hats, Gloves & Scarves             July --  Clothing
    February --  Accessories        August --  School Supplies    
    March --  Quality Crafts        September --  Games
    April --  Stuffed Animals        October --  Letter & Photo   
    May --  Hygiene Items        November --  $10 Donation   
    June --  Toys     December --  Prayer

(Find all the posts in this category by clicking the link above)

If you shop year-round for more than a couple boxes, you'll find you need a way to store and keep track of what you have already got, and what you still need.  Best I can tell, this is petty much ever changing for all of us who pack boxes, but here's some things we've done over the years:

Keep up with all the Operation Christmas Child shoebox packing information we share thru Email or follow us on Facebook.  You can also find us on Pinterest and YouTube.

1 comment:

topaz01@atlanticbb.net said...

Hi--My name is Christine and I am from Smock, Pennsylvania. I have been packing shoeboxes for 18 years. The church that I attend at this time is a United Methodist Church that is the smallest in a parish of 4 churches. I had started attending this small church about 5 years ago and at that time they weren't involved with the shoebox ministry. The other churches in our parish have been involved in the shoebox ministry for a good many years and I just got my empty boxes from one of those and dropped the completed ones off with them to be taken to the collection center. About 3 years ago I brought up the shoebox ministry and everyone thought that was something that they would like to start to participate in. The first year we made a list of items that we needed to pack in the shoeboxes and we put boxes by the door and everyone would bring in items for the boxes from the list if they didn't want to do their own boxes. A few of us sorted the items a few weeks before it was time to collect the boxes and listed items that we still needed to finish our boxes. The last week
I purchased the last of the items and we packed 21 boxes the first year and the church paid the postage. I always started making my own shoeboxes starting in January and made a few a month. Last year was our best with a total of 52 shoeboxes. We had received donations for the shoeboxes instead of just having random items dropped in the boxes as in the first two years which worked out well. We packed 25 shoeboxes from church donations and a few members made their own and with mine we had the 52 shoeboxes which was really great for a small church.
I look for items all year around that I can use for the shoeboxes like Dollar General is great about marking down clothing items like jackets, kids shoes, etc as well as K-Mart with their Shopping Card Members rewards that will give great deals like $10 off $15 or more and they will let you use on clearance items as well so that helps get more great items. I got stuffed animals that were on sale after the holidays and used the discounts and cashback. Walgreens gives points that equal cash and 40,000 points =$50 in free merchandise.
They have great toy sales like buy 2 get one free and it's great for dolls and cars and trucks, school supplies, etc.
I've gotten several totes full of items and would like to find anyone in my area that would want to get together monthly to pack shoeboxes so that it doesn't get overwhelming. I don't have a place at home where I can spread out what I have and pack them since my daughter moved back home. I could use the church basement as we did to pack the boxes in the past but it would be nice to do it on a monthly basis and make it a get together. I don't know which state you are located in but maybe someone who uses your website is from my area and would be interested in starting a shoebox packing meet.--Christine

Disclosure: Links on Simply Shoeboxes may be affiliate partners or referrals.