Filling Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes

So, where do you get stuff to fill Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes?  Especially if you are on a budget?  Well, here are some of my ideas.

1.  Parades – At parades you can get all sorts of items for free from t-shirts, frisbees, candy, hats, pens and more.

2.  Kids Birthday Parties – After a birthday party children often come home with a goodie bag.  Things that your children do not want, or will not use, may be good for the boxes.  Some items may include:  pencils, plastic rings, plastic ruler with the tracing shapes, plastic cups, slinky’s, candy, etc.

3.  Business – You will often walk into a business and they will have items with logos on them for the taking.  Now I do not advise picking up the whole pile.  However, taking one pen, keychain or other item is usually fine.

4.  Restaurants – If your child already has the toy that they comes with their meal, or will not play with the one they get, these can be added to the boxes.  If there is a toy you really like you may ask the manager about buying extras at the end of the promotion.  He/she may sell them to you inexpensively.  If the restaurant has little boxes of crayons to color with and they give you a box for each child, then have your child share and take the other box home for OCC.

5.  Garage sales – Sometimes you can find new things at garage sales that would be appropriate for the boxes.
6. Facebook//Craigslist – People will often sell things they want to get rid of cheaply.  For instance I found someone selling a pencil case with new pencils, pens and puzzle books for a couple bucks last year.

7. Relatives – Let your relatives know what you are doing and ask them to save things for you.  For years my sister saved her extra fast food toys for me to use in a prize box at work.  Someone who travels may bring home soaps or sewing kits.

8.  Sunday School/Religious class – I saw a craft that a church was going to be doing with a class and mentioned that if they had extra I had a use for them.  Sure enough they had one or two that they did not want to keep for the future.  They are now in my OCC bin.

9.  Easter Egg Hunts or Trick or Treating – Most things your children do not want would be good for the boxes.  (Please skip anything with ghosts, monsters, etc.)

10. School – Children often come home with candy or trinkets that they have no interest in and would be good to add to the boxes.

11. Pick up change you see on the ground.  You can use it to buy bouncy balls from Old Navy or the machines just inside the grocery store doors.  What child doesn’t love a bouncy ball?  You could buy something else instead.

Operation Christmas Child asks that candy (no chocolate) be put into every box.  I have heard some folks say they do not add candy because they see pictures of children with very few teeth.  The lack of teeth can be from lack of nutrition and lack of dental care…not how much candy they are getting.  Many of these children never get candy any other time.  If you do not add candy to the box, then when OCC checks the boxes to make sure everything is appropriate they will add candy to the box.  (Remember to double bag all candy.)


Next time I will give more ideas of what to put in the boxes.

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Operation Christmas Child – introduction

Operation Christmas Child is a ministry, through Samaritans Purse.  Each year, leading up to Christmas, they ask folks to fill a traditional sized shoe box with items for a child within a certain age range.   Items to include would be school supplies, hygiene items, and toys (especially something to hug). They ask that you leave out all liquids, any chocolate and any war related items (ex. little green army men).  Please pray over your box and include a check for $7 to help cover shipping.

The boxes are broken out into the following age ranges.

girl  2-4

girl 5-9

girl 10-14

boy 2-4

boy 5-9

boy 10 -14  (this age group gets the least amount of shoe boxes donated)


Over the next few days I will post ideas on where to get items cheap or free.  I will also post ideas of things to craft and put in your boxes  I will also post my list of things I like to include.  Until then check out this link, it is never to early to plan and begin collecting!

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“A Home for Lydia” – Vannetta Chapman

Friday I finished the book “A Home for Lydia” by Vannetta Chapman. I am a member of Vannetta’s street team, but will still give this book an honest review.

One of the things I first enjoyed about this book is that the setting takes place mainly in Wisconsin. When most people think Amish, Wisconsin is not a place that comes to mind. As I read the book I couldn’t help but wish I could visit tranquil Pebble Creek for a week.

Aaron and Lydia are trying to revive the Plain cabin business that Aaron’s uncle had owned. After his uncle’s death Aaron, as the oldest nephew, is sent to Wisconsin to evaluate the situation. Aaron meets Lydia who had worked for his uncle. Suddenly the tranquility is interrupted. Aaron and Lydia try to figure out who is causing the disruptions to their lives and business. Is it the Englisch neighbor? The Englisch reporter? Lydia’s sister?

I highly recommend this book. One of the things I appreciated is that there are some things Vannetta delicately mentions that other authors do not. Anyone who has fallen in love with the genre of Amish fiction will enjoy this book.

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Book Review: “Material Witness” by Vannetta Chapman

“Material Witness” by Vannetta Chapman says “A Shipshewana Amish Mystery” on the cover. When I first picked up the book I could not believe that Amish and murder in the same story made much sense. Ms. Chapman hooked me quickly. She weaved together a story including the Amish and English that keep me riveted. I am generally not.a fan of mysteries, but the way that Ms. Chapman combined the mystery with the Amish and did not include a lot of gory detail made for a pleasant read that captivated me.

I stayed up late reading this book and then went in search of other things she had written. I found I had another one of her books on my shelf and quickly got my hands on her others

This is book three of a series, but works well as a stand alone book.

I would recommend this book for both the Amish fiction lover and the lover of mysteries.

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Amish Buggy on a Fall Day

I took this picture on a fall day in Michigan.

Amish Buggy on a Fall Day

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