Operation Christmas Child is a wonderful charity that brings gifts to underprivileged children around the world. Each year families fill ordinary shoe boxes full of toys and goodies and send them to third world countries. The less expensive these boxes are, the more you are able to send. So here is some advice on filling those shoe boxes for (nearly) free.
1. Couponining: Coupons are abundant both online and in local newspapers and magazines. With a little effort it’s easy to match up coupons with sales at local stores to acquire items for free. Keep an eye out for coupons for such things as toothbrushes, candy, floss, soap and pens. If you use Facebook you can search “coupons” or “deals” for hundreds of pages dedicated to couponing and deal seeking. The group “Clip with a Purpose” specifically lays out deals you can use to fill your shoe boxes.
2. Sales: Watch stores for 75% off or more sales. Craft stores such as Hobby Lobby often have t-shirts or flip-flops for $1.50 or less. These can be sent as-is or, if you’re creative, can be dressed up with a little hot glue and some scrap supplies. Also be on the lookout for mega sales on toys, school supplies and candy. Watch for post-holiday sales for some of the deepest discounts.
3. Freebies: Did you receive a free pen from your realtor? Can you send away for a free t-shirt with the UPCs from your cereal box? Did your magazine order come with a free tote bag? Were there stickers in that solicitation letter? All of these items would make wonderful inclusions to your shoe box.
4. Crafting: If you’re handy with a needle and thread you can sew a dress, doll or bag for your shoe box. If you’re good with wood working you can make a simple toy. If you can draw, make your child a little picture book to read. Whatever your talent, find creative ways to use scrap materials to fill that box.
5. Re-gifting: What better way to pass on duplicate or unwanted gifts than to put them in your shoe box? You are guaranteed to avoid re-gifting snafus when you send the gifts out of the country. So if your child received three of the same toy for Christmas, or you hate the t-shirt that your Aunt sent for your birthday, pass them along to a child who will treasure them.
With some advanced preparation, a little creativity and some know-how you can fill several Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes for almost nothing. You will be giving new life to unwanted items and blessing underprivileged children in the process. Just keep an eye out and start a stockpile and you’ll be on your way in no time.